First early voting figures show strong turnout locally, statewide


Tennessee’s early voting is off to a record start for mid-term elections.  Yes, there’s a governor’s race here but’s its the contest between a former governor and a congressional member getting all the attention. 

At the end of the first day for early voting, more than 120,000 people showed up — a first-day record for mid-term voting– to cast their ballots according to estimates from the secretary of state’s office.  

Those figures dwarf similar first day early voting numbers from mid-term elections in 2014 and 2010 of nearly 33,000 and 45,000.  

Here is a breakdown of early voting by county locally: 

  • Sullivan County – 2905
  • Washington County – 1799
  • Carter County  – 720
  • Johnson County – 350
  • Hawkins County – 827
  • Greene County – 631
  • Unicoi County – 450 

No one doubts the US Senate race between Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn is driving people to polls. 

The race is getting international attention — like from Norwegian journalists. 

“Bredesen has Norwegian heritage, so that makes it a little interesting for us and obviously everybody is following American politics in general,” said Vegard Kvaale, a Norwegian reporter. 

Blackburn claims no such heritage, but the interest in her race has drawn heavy spending from the NRA and campaign appearances by its chief lobbyist.  

“I’m going to be supporting Marsha Blackburn as a champion of international freedom in this state and country–your most important race– I am here for a reason,” said Chris Cox, NRA chief lobbyist. 

With two recent polls–one local, one international–showing more evidence of a dead heat, the candidates in Tennessee’s US senate race know their contest will likely come down to getting out their vote.  

“We are working hard every day and for everyone listening to your reports, I ask for your vote,” said Marsha Blackburn, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate: 

“I am just doing the best job I can, presenting my brand, my approach to the job and we will see what people want,” said Phil Bredesen, Democratic candidate for US Senate. 

The early voting efforts now underway could be up to half of the total count come election day November 6th. 

The secretary of state’s office included absentee ballots in its early voting totals. 

Davidson County had the highest turnout with just under 15,000 votes cast.  

Unicoi County election officials told News Channel 11 they had the biggest first-day turnout for a non-presidential election ever.  

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