Election night 2014 was a big night for Republicans hoping to wrest control of the U.S. Senate from Democrats. Several Republican incumbents from Tennessee cruised to easy victories in Republican mandates and Republican Governor Bill Haslam was elected to a second term in a landslide.
U.S Rep. Dr. Phil Roe won a fourth term in Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. By 9 p.m. the Associated Press declared Roe the winner with 80 percent of the vote.
“It’s very humbling to be elected for a fourth term, especially with more than 80 percent of the vote,” said Roe. “It’s a privilege to do what I do and I can’t thank the voters enough.”
At the time, Roe said he was carefully monitoring the Senate races in hopes that the Republicans will gain the majority, which they in fact ended up doing for the first time in eight years. The GOP gained the additional six seats to gain control of both chambers of Congress. Roe mentioned that in light of Republicans gaining control, it could mean the beginning of the end for the Affordable Care Act.
“The Affordable Care Act is in need of some changes,” said Roe. “Only 43 percent of Americans have signed up. It’s just too expensive.”
Gov. Haslam won in a landslide against Democratic challenger Charlie Brown with 71 percent of the vote to Brown’s 22 percent.
Sen. Lamar Alexander handily defeated Democratic challenger Gordon ball winning 63 percent of the vote to Ball’s 31 percent.
The election results spelled the end of the Clinton era in Arkansas. Tom Cotton defeated Mark Pryor in Arkansas’ Senate race with 58 percent of the vote. Pryor is a close friend of Bill and Hillary Clinton who campaigned feverishly for the candidate. With President Barack Obama’s approval ratings in a tailspin, Pryor attempted to distance himself from the president and declined to have him campaign on his behalf in Arkansas. Pryor opted to campaign with the Clintons at his side which proved futile.
Supporters of the wine in stores referendum celebrated an easy victory. The referendum will make it possible for consumers to purchase wine in grocery stores. Tennessee is one of only 14 states in which wine cannot be sold in grocery stores.
“We have people asking us all the time ‘where’s the wine’ and of course we can’t sell it,” said Steve Trout, District Manager of Food City. “They can’t buy wine so they will buy beer or wine coolers. We have no numbers to indicate what kind of revenue it will mean for the stores. This is about giving our customers what they want.”
Wine will be available in stores as early as July of 2016.
While no statistics have been made available by the election commission, voter turnout was much higher than expected.
“This is the busiest I have ever seen it here,” said poll volunteer Bill Stout. “I think the voter turnout is due to all the amendments on the ballot.”
Tennesseans voted overwhelmingly to ban any chance of a state income tax. The resolution to add an amendment to the state’s constitution banning the tax passed with a popular vote of 75 percent in favor of the ban.
Voters chose to grant additional power to state legislators in regards to regulating abortion. Amendment 1 which grants additional power to the state passed with a vote of 54 percent in favor and 46 percent against.