Republicans outvoted Democrats 2-to-1 during early voting this year, but that could be because some Democrats “crossed over” and voted in state and federal Republican primaries, an election official said Tuesday.
“I would assume that some Democrats crossed over and voted in the Republican primary for U.S. House,” Anderson County Elections Administrator Mark Stephens said.
He said there is no way to know many people voted for Democrats and how many voted for Republicans in the local partisan races for Anderson County mayor and property assessor until after Thursday’s election is over.
So, it’s not clear if the lopsided Republican voting margin in the state and federal primaries predicts the likely outcome of the local partisan races.
Voters have to declare a party to vote in the state and federal primaries, but they can vote for either party in the county general election, Stephens said.
“That’s a different ballot altogether,” Stephens said.
There are also some nonpartisan races on the local ballot, including special elections for Oak Ridge City Council and Anderson County Commission District 8, as well as for seats on the Anderson County School Board.
The Republican primary for U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee’s Third District, which includes Oak Ridge, features the incumbent, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, who is an attorney, and his opponents, real estate investor Ron Bhalla, dairy executive Scottie Mayfield, and public relations executive Weston Wamp, son of former Rep. Zach Wamp.
The Democratic primary includes physician Mary M. Headrick and accountant and business executive Bill Taylor.
The seat has been held by Republicans since Zach Wamp was elected in 1994. Fleischmann replaced Wamp, who unsuccessfully ran for Tennessee governor in 2010.
The Senate seat held by Republican Bob Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, is also on the ballot, although it has not received as much media attention. Corker’s Republican opponents include Fred R. Anderson, Mark Twain Clemens, Brenda S. Lenard, and Zach Poskevich.
His Democratic challengers include Mark E. Clayton, Larry Crim, Gary Gene Davis, Dave Hancock, Park Overall, T.K. Owens, and Benjamin Roberts.
A sample ballot is available on the Anderson County Election Commission website.