Tennessee Republicans won a 19-to-14 state Senate majority in Tuesday’s election, according to unofficial voting totals, while House Republicans appeared to have gained a 50-to-49 margin in that chamber, giving them control of it for the first time since 1971.
For the first time since post-Civil War Reconstruction, the GOP holds majorities in both chambers, Republicans said.
House and Senate Republicans also have enough votes — 69 — to capture the three constitutional offices of secretary of state, comptroller and treasurer. The state’s 132 legislators elect the constitutional officers, and it takes 67 votes to win.
Unofficial returns showed Republican Senate candidate Ken Yager of Harriman, Tenn., won the hotly contested 12th Senate District race with Democrat Becky Ruppe.
Republicans have had operational control of the 33-member Senate, but it has been divided 16-16 between Democrats and Republicans, with a Republican turned independent, Sen. Mike Williams of Maynardville, often siding with Democrats. Unofficial returns show Mr. Williams losing to Republican Mike Faulk in the 4th Senate District and Democrats also losing the 26th Senate District.
Going into the election, House Democrats held a 53-46 edge over Republicans. But they lost four seats. That puts House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower, R-Bristol, in position to become speaker barring any unforeseen circumstances.
“The election of a Republican majority in the General Assembly is historic in its own right, and even more so given the strong Democratic tide across much of the country,” said Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Robin Smith. “Our victories send a national message that Republican values still resonate with mainstream America.”
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...