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Tennessee Democrats face tough choices following mid-term losses


MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  Two mid-state researchers say Tennessee Democrats are facing some hard choices following last week’s stinging mid-term election blowout.



Tennessee Democrats failed to pick up any statewide offices at the midterms and just one additional seat in the state General Assembly.


MTSU Poll Director Ken Blake notes that former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen won his second term in 2006 with more than 68 percent of the vote. This past week he lost a race for the Senate by 14 points, scoring just 40 percent of ballots cast.


As we head now toward the 2020 presidential election, Blake says he and fellow pollsters will be searching for Tennessee’s missing moderates.


“Phil Bredesen obviously pitched his message to kind of moderates in both parties and was hoping that there would be enough of them to elect him and clearly that was not the case.”


Vanderbilt University Political Scientist Carrie Russell has been conducting public opinion polls around the state. Russell says what she’s learned means Tennessee Democrats are facing some tough decisions.


Russell says a lot of state residents currently voting Republican tell her they used to be Democrats, but feel the party abandoned them by moving too far to the left.


Russell says that leaves Democrats two equally challenging choices. They can either move back to the right, something she calls being “Republican Lite,” or they can try to energize a new generation of voters.


“Attempt to appeal to a different demographic of younger, more ethnically diverse, religiously diverse voters. But then the trick is, how do you actually get those people to actually show up on Election Day.”