NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — Physician Jason Martin has won the Democratic primary for Tennessee governor and will contest Republican Gov. Bill Lee in the November general election.
The Nashville Democrat defeated Memphis councilmember JB Smiley Jr. and Memphis community leader Carnita Atwater.
Campaign finance records show that Martin raised and spent more than twice as much as Smiley. Atwater only raised and spent a few thousand dollars compared to Martin and Smiley’s hundreds of thousands.
For Martin, the path to the governor’s office will be an uphill one. Tennessee has not elected a Democratic governor since Phil Bredesen in the 2006 election. In 2018, Democrat Karl Dean lost to Lee by 21 points. Republicans also control both of Tennessee’s U.S. Senate seats, most of its congressional seats, and both chambers of the General Assembly.
Besides Lee, Martin will face several independent candidates in the Nov. 8 state and federal general election. Early voting begins Oct. 19.
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