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From WMOT News

Women look to shake up Tennessee's 2018 elections


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Early voting is now underway in Tennessee for the August 2 state and federal primaries and the county general elections. Expect to see a lot of new names when you get a look at the ballot.

The nation’s super-charged political climate is attracting a number of first time candidates for public office, including an unusually large class of rookie female candidates.

Firm numbers are hard to come by, but two Tennessee examples prove the point. In Williamson County, Democrat Kristen Grimm is running against Republican State Senator Jack Johnson; the first challenger Johnson has had since 2006.

Earlier this year, the group Emerge Tennessee noted that it had enrolled 28 women in training sessions for first time candidates.

Sarah McCall with Women for Tennessee’s Future says her organization also does new candidate training. 

“Our politics both here in Tennessee and nationally, you know, I think people are just really searching for a way to make government work again and make it less divisive.”

Jennifer Vannoy echoes that sentiment. She’s the first Democrat to challenge for Rutherford County’s District 34 House seat in years.

“We don’t want to be arguing with our neighbors. We want to be working together. And I’m getting that from almost everybody I talk to straight across the board.”
Natalie Brooks Dotson is a Republican running for Coffee County Circuit Court Clerk.

Natalie Brooks Dotson is one of the few rookie Republican candidates running for office. She hopes to be the next Coffee County Circuit Court Clerk.

"I was a little leary to kind of stick my feet in initialy, but after a lot of talking and communicating with some other people in our community and friends and family of mine I decide this was definately a risk and a leap that I wanted to take."

Republican women are poised to make political history in Tennessee. Congressional Rep. Diane Black and State House Speaker Beth Harwell are running to be the state’s first female governor. Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn hopes to be Tennessee’s first female Senator.

Use the links below to listen to the complete interviews with candidates Jennifor Vannoy and Natalie Brooks Dotson.

Jennifer Vannoy interview
Natalie Brooks Dotson interview