Diary

The Electoral Map: Tennessee and Kentucky

Today I look at Kentucky and Tennessee.

Kentucky

Besides 8 electoral votes and six House seats, there is also a Senate race pitting GOP incumbent Rand Paul against former Lexington mayor Jim Gray.  Gray is considered an up and coming Democratic politician in the state, but he may be in over his head this year against a fairly popular incumbent in the state.  The fact is that Gray is little known outside the Lexington area and perhaps this run for the Senate- where he handily defeated his primary opponents- will give him that statewide recognition for a future run against Mitch McConnell or even for Governor in 2019.

There is no drama in the House races.  In fact, Democrats are not even fielding a candidate in the Second or Fifth districts this year.  If there is to be any drama, albeit slightly, it would be in the Sixth District where the GOP incumbent faces Democrat Nancy Jo Kemper.  She is a retired minister with a degree from Yale Divinity School.

Ed Whitfield is retiring in the First and James Comer, the Republican candidate, should win this race easily.  He, if one remembers, barely lost the 2015 gubernatorial primary by 83 votes.  Whitfield had decided to step down early so whoever wins this race will be seated in the current Congress to finish out Whitfield’s term as Governor Bevin has made this a “special election.”

As for the presidential race, expect Trump to pull out a 12-15 point victory.

Tennessee

Like Kentucky, there is likely to be little to no drama here in the nine House races since there is no Senate race this year.  As for the presidential outcome, Trump will likely do better than in neighboring Kentucky pulling out a double digit victory possibly somewhere near 15%.

Republican Steve Fincher is retiring in the 8th District, but it should be a fairly safe win by about 7 points for GOP candidate David Kustoff over his Democratic rival, Rick Hobson.

The only other race of tangential interest is in the Fourth where the ethically-challenged Republican incumbent Scott DesJarlais is running for reelection.  District voters had a chance to dethrone him, but if he survived the mistress abortion scandal in 2014, he wasn’t going anywhere in 2016.

At the end of this entry, the electoral vote count now stands at Clinton with 59 and Trump with 24.  Likewise there is no change in the Senate with the GOP maintaining a 54-46 advantage, nor in the House where the GOP has the advantage 245-190.

Tomorrow: the Deep Southern states of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi.