Local votes reflect statewide results
By Sabrina Bates
MVP Regional News Editor
Voters in Tennessee don’t seem nearly as excited when voting for governor and Constitutional amendments as they do when casting a presidential ballot, as only 38.57 percent of those registered showed up to vote in the midterm election Nov. 8. Of the 4,550,026 registered in Tennessee, 1,755,218 cast a ballot in last week’s election. The last time less than 40 percent of registered voters showed up to vote in the state was in 1998, when only 32.53 percent headed to the polls.
Newly-redrawn Tennessee House District 76 now comprises Weakley and Henry counties, as well as a portion of Carroll County. Tandy Darby of Greenfield was the district favorite, garnering 13,267 votes (82.87 percent). He earned 6,731 (85.94 percent) of those votes from Weakley County. Independent challenger James Hart picked up 1,828 district-wide votes (11.42 percent), with 763 (9.74 percent) from Weakley County. A third Independent challenger, Kevin West, earned 914 district-wide votes (5.71 percent), with 338 (4.32 percent) of those cast in the county.
Last week, Tennesseans overwhelmingly opted to keep Republican Gov. Bill Lee and pass the four Constitutional amendments listed on the Nov. 8 ballot.
Lee earned 64.93 percent of votes cast, with 1,128,097 in his favor. Weakley Countians showed similar favor with 6,413 voters (78.95 percent) in support of Lee.
His challenger, Democrat Dr. Jason Martin picked up 32.93 percent of the statewide votes as 572,153 Tennesseans (32.93 percent) cast a ballot for him. He picked up 18.31 percent of the votes in Weakley County with 1,487 voting for Martin.
Weakley Countians joined neighboring counties in re-electing District 8 Republican U.S. Congressman David Kustoff. In District 8, Kustoff garnered 155,556 votes (73.99 percent), with 6,495 (80.74 percent) of those cast by Weakley Countians. Democratic challenger Lynette Williams earned 51,083 district-wide votes (24.30 percent), with 1,399 votes (17.39 percent) from Weakley County.
District 8 is made up of Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Fayette, Gibson, Haywood, Henry, Lake, Lauderdale, Madison, Obion, Tipton and Weakley counties. It also contains a portion of Shelby and Benton counties.
Four Constitutional amendments appeared on last week’s ballot. The first enshrined Tennessee’s right-to-work law into the Constitution and makes it illegal for someone to be terminated from employment based on union affiliation. Across Tennessee, 69.79 percent, or 1,140,629 voted in favor of the amendment with 493,629 votes (30.21 percent) against the amendment. In Weakley County 5,301 voters said “yes” on Amendment #1, with 1,620 voting against it.
Amendment #2 outlined a plan to temporarily shift the responsibilities of the governor to the Speaker of the Senate in the event the state leader becomes unable to perform the duties of his position. Statewide, the measure earned 74.63 percent, 1,175,023 votes, in its favor, with 399,545 (25.37 percent) votes cast against Amendment #2. In Weakley County 5,504 voted in favor of the amendment and 1,718 voters opted against it.
Amendment #3 abolished slavery and indentured servitude from the Tennessee Constitution. It had overwhelming support with 1,292,834 (79.54 percent) votes statewide in its favor. There were 332,636 votes (20.46 percent) cast statewide to amend the state Constitution. In Weakley County 5,548 opted to abolish slavery, while 1,779 opted to vote against the amendment.
The fourth amendment listed on the ballot was considered a “clean-up” measure to the Constitution, which did not allow members of the clergy to serve in state General Assembly roles. The measure was declared unconstitutional by a Supreme Court years ago, citing a violation of First Amendment rights. The Nov. 8 ballot amendment asked voters to choose whether to eliminate the ban from the state Constitution. Statewide, it gained support with 1,019,828 (63.24 percent) voting in favor of removing the ban. There were 592,698 votes (36.76 percent) against removing the ban. Weakley Countians also showed favor, with 4,696 “yes” votes and 2,541 “no” votes.
All election results are considered unofficial until each county election commission certifies its results and sends them to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office for final certification.