On Tuesday, November 6, the sun rose, and people flocked to the polls, many waiting in line when the doors opened. Candidates like Marsha Blackburn, Phil Bredesen, Renee Hoyos, and Tim Burchett visited polling locations in an attempt to win votes in the waning hours of the campaign.
Driving from poll to poll, sending out texts, making calls, and recording social media videos—the candidates made one last push. Races all over the nation had record turnout, one great example of which—is Tennessee.
I spoke briefly to an election official at Dogwood Elementary School and he said they’ve seen a huge increase in voter turnout. He stated that they usually see around 250 voters on a typical mid-term election day and when I was given a copy of the location’s results I was astounded. A location which usually sees 250 voters, ended up seeing 766 on Tuesday—an increase of over 200 percent.
If you think that sounds like a big number, you’d be mistaken. In Tennessee, voter turnout among voters 18-24 increased by over 700 percent and other states saw similar turnout, leading me to believe that the days of millennials sitting on the political sidelines are over.
Despite the uptick in voter turnout and endorsements from celebrities like Taylor Swift, the momentum wasn’t enough to bust through the red wall as local democrats got swept. At the top of the ballot, Marsha Blackburn defeated Phil Bredesen to become Tennessee’s first female senator and Bill Lee defeated Karl Dean in his bid for governor. Despite the losses, there are signs of a shift in Tennessee even if it may take a few more cycles to take hold.
For instance, Renee Hoyos received more votes than any Democrat ever has in the second congressional district (MC’s district). The aforementioned landmark and vigorous democratic enthusiasm wasn’t quite enough as Hoyos fell short in her bid against Republican Tim Burchett for the seat which has been held by congressman John Duncan since 1988. Burchett is a former business man and Knox County elected official who has been in public service for over 20 years and come January, he will be the second district’s new congressman.
MC’s own Jay Clark also ran an inspiring grassroots campaign based heavily on the environment and healthcare in East Tennessee but fell short in his bid against incumbent Jerome Moon for the Tennessee house seat in the eighth district.
Clark released a statement on Social Media which said the following: “We didn’t get it this time, congratulations to Jerome Moon. After a short break, we’ll be back at it.”
Now that the dust from the midterms has settled slightly (very slightly), the following is what we know about the national political picture. (Keep in mind, there are still races which are undecided due to ballot issues, recounts, or a variety of other unplanned events.)
The republican party had a somewhat successful election night as they picked up multiple seats and retained control of the U.S. Senate. Some notable wins for the Republican party were Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee, Rick Scott in Florida, and Kevin Cramer in North Dakota. With those wins, (as of Thursday, November 8) the Republican party controls 51 seats and the Democratic party controls 44 seats. 2 seats remain independent and 3 seats are still undecided.
The big picture is that the Republican party will retain control of the U.S. Senate and gain a minimum of one seat after all is said and done.
The U.S. House of Representatives is another story all together.
As of now, the Democrats control 225 seats of the 435 available seats in the U.S. House of Representatives with 13 seats still undecided. Experts think the Democrats could end up flipping a total 37 seats by the time the last 13 seats are called for the respective winner.
Despite losing in Tennessee, Democrats flipped more than enough seats to regain control of the house including electing the first Native American woman, Somali woman, and Muslim woman to the U.S. Congress. Aside from those landmarks, Colorado elected the first openly gay governor who celebrated by introducing his “first man.”
Election day in America is a day of many emotions. Some win, some lose, some demand recounts, and some end up in a run-off. Campaigns laugh, cry, cheer, and occasionally drink too many adult beverages—but now it’s all over.
November 6 has come and gone and we are all still here, with both those we agree with and those we don’t. fter all the ads, debates, and insults (hurled by candidates across the board)—we have a restored system of checks and balances on the executive branch and have re-instituted a bipartisan legislative branch.
So relax, take a deep breath, and remember there’s only 724 days until Election Day 2020.