Blue Wave fails to carry Governor and Senate race; Gilmore wins big

Bill Lee celebrates a lopsided win for the governorship.

This story was updated from the previous version.

The promised ‘Blue Wave’ fell flat in Tennessee. In the race for the governorship, Bill Lee defeated Karl Dean in an unexpectedly lopsided win with 62% of the vote to Dean’s 32% of the vote.

“I want to congratulate Karl Dean on a race well run, and commended him for his commitment to Tennessee,” said Lee. “We debate differences, and there will always be disagreements, but no matter who you voted for there’s one thing we can agree on: all of us agree that we care deeply about the future of the state of Tennessee.

Tennessee Governor-elect Bill Lee

Lee gave his word that he will be the governor of every Tennessean and had a special message for those who did not vote for him.

“From the bottom of my heart I care about you, and I care about your family,” he said. “And I’m going to do everything I can for those who didn’t vote for me to ultimately make them be proud that I am their governor.”

Dean waited sometime after the race was declared for Lee to give his concession speech, with hopes that later votes might come in to swing the election.

After the loss became apparent, he quoted Adlai Stevenson, who lost in the presidential election to Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“I feel like a child who has stubbed their toe in the middle of the night,” said Dean. “I’m too old to cry and it hurts too much to laugh. I wish Bill Lee all the success in the world. I will support him as governor and we all need to do so to make sure that our great state continues to move forward.”

Both candidates agree that the months spent on the campaign have been some of the most extraordinary of their lives.

Rep. Brenda Gilmore pictured here on election night with her daughter, Councilwoman At-Large Erica Gilmore, is now the senator-elect for Dist. 19.

Democrat Phil Bredesen, who has served as the mayor of Nashville and governor of Tennessee, was defeated by Marsha Blackburn by 11 points, making the Republican congresswoman the next Senator. Blackburn will be replacing Sen. Bob Corker who announced his retirement earlier this year. Blackburn’s seat in House District 56 was won by Democrat Bob Freeman, the son of notable businessman and Democratic fund-raiser Bill Freeman, in a contested race.

In the General Assembly, Democratic State Rep. Breda Gilmore (D) easily defeated her opponents, Reuben Dockery (I) and Christina ‘Chris’ Callaway (I) to win Senate District 19. Gilmore will replace the retiring Sen. Thelma Harper for District 19 that includes large areas of North and Southeast Nashville.

Other notable wins include Jeff Yarbro who ran unopposed (D Senate 21), Bill Beck (D House 51), Mike Stewart (D House 52), Jason Powell (D House 53), Vincent Dixie (D House 54), John Ray Clemmons (D House 55), Harold Love who ran unopposed (D House 58), Jason Potts (R House 59), and Darren Jernigan who ran unopposed (D House 60).

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