Update: Columbia's Ty Cobb and Harriman's Dennis Ferguson are the first state House Democratic incumbents to go down tonight. Both lost to women—Cobb to right-wing Christian author and motivational speaker Sheila Butt and Ferguson to Julia Hurley, an ex-Hooters’ waitress whose campaign probably took off like a rocket when this picture of her circulated in the district.
Update II: Republican David Alexander has beaten Democratic Rep. George Fraley of Winchester.
Update III: Another House Democrat loses: Cookeville's Henry Fincher has been defeated by the GOP's Ryan Williams. “The president poisoned the well,” the always quotable Fincher says. “State-wide people just aren’t voting for Democrats.”
Update IV: Don Miller has defeated Larry Mullins to give Republicans another House seat—the one vacated by Democrat Rep. John Litz.
Update V: Seven more Democrats appear to have lost in the House—Les Winningham, Butch Borchert, Judy Barker, Mark Maddox, Eddie Yokley, Jim Hackworth and Stratton Bone. Republicans now have gained a whopping 12 seats. That would give the GOP an invulnerable 62-seat majority.
Update VI: The GOP gains two more seats—Sam Coleman has conceded to Jim Gotto in the race to succeed Ben West in the state House from Hermitage. And Murfreesboro's Kent Coleman has lost to Mike Sparks.
Update VII: In a big surprise, Doug Jackson has become the only Senate Democrat to lose. Champion of the guns-in-bars law, Jackson was the freakiest of all gun freaks in the legislature, but it didn't save him from the Republican wave.
Update VIII: GOP chairman Chris Devaney—"For the first time in modern history, Republicans are going to lead at every level of government in this state. This is truly a historic day and Republicans are honored that voters have put their trust in our party to lead Tennessee.
State House GOP leaders are predicting an even bigger-than-expected night for Republicans. "I think we will" do better than the two- or three-seat gain that many were predicting for Republicans in the state House, Rep. Beth Harwell says.
Retiring House GOP leader Jason Mumpower:
"It’s early but we’re very excited. … We have Republican House candidates who are leading many House races at this point in time. … We knew from polling that we were going to have probably a good night tonight. But I will tell you that I don’t know that we anticipated just how good a night. We have some races right now where it’s early but Democratic incumbents are down right now in early voting numbers. We think that could be a sign of things to come. We’re optimistic."
"That’s never happened. Not one time before in history. It will be a history-making experience. Never before has the Senate, House and governorship been in Republican hands."
"Tennesseans and citizens across this country are fed up with Obama-style politics, the radical government spending. They are saying reign in government spending. … Voters are angry and I think they have expressed themselves today."
"This is a history-making night for the state of Tennessee," Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn says. "For the first time, we’re going to see what will happen when we have Republican control in the governor, lieutenant governor, the legislative bodies. And I don’t know about you, but I think Tennessee is gong to show the country how to lead the way back to economic health and jobs."
The Tennessee congressional delegation somersaulted tonight from 5-4 Democratic to 7-2 Republican. The AP has called it for Scott DesJarlais in the Fourth District and Stephen Fincher in the Eighth. Democrats never had a chance to keep the Sixth, the seat that Bart Gordon vacated, and Diane Black won that election easily.
Henceforth in this state, as we had predicted, Democratic congressmen can feel safe only in urban and/or predominantly black districts (i.e., Nashville and Memphis).
The margin in DesJarlais' contest was especially surprising. He was rolling up 57 percent of the vote against the four-term incumbent Lincoln Davis. The Republican storm was strong enough to overcome weird behavior in DesJarlais' past. In decade-old divorce papers, he was accused by his first wife of firing an unloaded gun outside her bedroom door and of holding the gun to his mouth for three hours.
Update: GOP chairman Chris Devaney gloats.
"Democrats in Tennessee were shown the door tonight and for good reason. In this state, Democrats have to do more than pay lip service to conservative values and voters are tired of the big conservative talk inside the state followed by liberal votes in Washington. That's why they have voted for Republican candidates they can depend on to actually represent their values. Tennessee is a red state and I'm pleased we're going to have so many effective Republicans working in Washington on Tennessee's behalf."
Over at The City Paper, Ken Whitehouse is reporting that Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Davidson County state Rep. Beth Harwell have notched up decisive victories in their respective bids for governor and reelection.
The issues now, Whitehouse says, are whom Haslam will pick as his deputy governor and whether Harwell has a shot at becoming the state's first female Speaker of the House. We'll post more results in updates throughout the night.
Elsewhere in America, according to Politico, Rand Paul in Kentucky and Marco Rubio in Florida have won, but not Christine O'Donnell in Delaware, despite some Criswell-style punditry predicting her ascent. Good night, folks, and see you tomorrow in the New Old World.
Update: Haslam gives his victory speech.
"Here is what nobody understood about this race and what everybody missed. They didn’t understand the incredible volunteer base that we had out there helping us. … Did you know last week, our volunteers called 250,000 people? … More people gave to this campaign than have ever given to any campaign in the state of Tennessee."
"It’s been a long hard campaign, but it’s been good. I’ve said oftentimes it’d be much nicer if somebody just tapped you on the shoulder and said, ‘you’re it.’ But you wouldn’t be better. And I will be a better governor for the primary and the general election campaign that we’ve been through. I will promise you this, whether you voted for us or not I will work hard for all Tennesseans. That’s why I ran for governor and I promise you that."
“She's supposed to be a leader, and this is what we have in the Legislature. I think this is one of the worst. I think this is as low as you can stoop."
Just how clueless is Weaver? Here's her reaction: “I'm the least racist of anyone. Some of my greatest friends are black."
Here's the joke and its limp punchline: "Remember when Ronald Reagan was president? We had Bob Hope. We had Johnny Cash. Think about where we are today. We have got President Obama. But we have no hope and we have no cash."
Get it? President Obama's that dude with the funny foreign-sounding name — not like the old days, when real Amurkins had names everyone could pronounce, like Johnny Cash. We don't remember Republicans always pronouncing it with such fondness, since the Cash name tended to stand for nuisances such as minority rights and prison reform. But that name is sacrosanct here in Music City, and Pith hates to hear it besmirched by a political opportunist — especially one who claims that he's an agent of change, after 18 years anchored like a tick on the legislative hide.
So does Rosanne Cash. In a blistering dispatch on her Twitter feed, the singer, songwriter and bestselling memoirist tells the GOP's Agent Orange to back off: "John Boehner: Stop using my dad's name as a punchline, you asshat."
The Man in Black couldn't have said it better. Except in the photo above.
H/T Politico and major LULZ @ Ben Smith, who redacted "a**hat."
Who said it?
1. "Hi, I'm Basil Marceaux dot com."
2. "Everyone carry guns. If you kill someone, though, you get murdered and go to jail."
3. "Our slogan in this campaign has always been to run silent and to run deep."
4. “I really don't think I've missed the boat.”
5. "You could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion or is it a nationality, way of life or cult, whatever you want to call it."
6. “They asked in that situation if the legislature passed it, would you sign it? And I said yes. That was the question. I’ve always said that. Before that, I’d said I’m not in favor of that. I was very clear about that.”
7. “The man is about as firm on an issue as a limp noodle.”
8. "Don't elect some sissy wannabe as your governor.”
9. “The 10th Amendment means the 10th Amendment."
10. "When I'm governor of Tennessee, of course we will not secede from the union.”
I've talked to many friends, both conservative and liberal, who are having trouble drumming up the enthusiasm necessary to bother to vote. They don't like the candidates. They don't feel like voting matters.
But here is why you should vote. Just think of the most ridiculous but politically aware person you know. Fine if it's me.
If you don't vote, that just makes my vote all the more important.
Do you really want to live in a state where the elected officials start pandering to the likes of me?
This video is awesome on so many levels, from the adorable puppy trying to eat that other dog's face to the wiggling contest. But it's also a great illustration with the problem of "pit bull" as a category — the dogs in this video range in size considerably, in head shape, in body shape, and so on — it's become a catch-all term for a large terrier. Well, there are worse crowds to be in.
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