GOP Primaries Indicate Dissatisfaction With Incumbent Legislators?

Nearly a third of the Republican members of the state House of Representatives are facing primary challengers in August, observes Chas Sisk. He says that’s a sign of the party’s new dominance in Tennessee politics and possibly also grass-roots dissatisfaction with the lawmakers who benefited from it.
For some senior members such as Republican Caucus Chair Debra Maggart of Hendersonville and first-term lawmakers such as Reps. Julia Hurley of Lenoir City and Jeremy Faison of Cosby, the road to re-election will not be automatic.
Redistricting plans designed to strengthen the GOP’s hold on the legislature also may have opened the door for new challengers. Returns that have shown the state’s electorate surging to the right may have convinced conservatives that their representatives are not keeping up.
“The party is finding itself,” said Tom Lawless, former chairman of the Davidson County Republican Party.
These primary races could hinge on red-meat issues such as guns and prayer, as well as accountability questions like pay and attendance.
Challengers also may try to build on the anti-incumbency sentiment that continues to sweep away longtime officeholders
…(T)he results could determine the character of the 108th General Assembly, which will begin its two-year term in January. Another wave of fresh faces in the state legislature could amp up debate in ways similar to the just-concluded season. It also could unsettle the political balance that has led members such as Maggart, House Speaker Beth Harwell and House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick to top positions.

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