The 2014 general elections in the state of Tennessee will be held on Tuesday, November 4. After careful consideration of the candidates and their positions, O&AN is making the following recommendations. See also: Tennessean's could see their rights eroded
While Charlie Brown (D) may be an uninspiring candidate, your vote for governor is more than a vote for governor. Every vote cast for governor increases the number of votes required to pass a state constitutional amendment: so to secure the right to privacy in Tennessee (at issue in Amendment 1) vote for anyone. But we recommend a vote for Brown as a vote against Bill Haslam.
While it seems likely that incumbent Lamar Alexander (R) will prevail, members of the LGBT community should cast their vote for Gordon Ball (D), whose spokesperson said he “believes that everyone has the right to get married and has said publicly that he thinks government should stay out of people's bedrooms. Gordon also believes that every child deserves a loving family. As for ENDA, Gordon believes that everyone deserves a fair wage and discrimination has no place in the workforce.”
US House of Representatives
There are two Democratic incumbents running for reelection this year: Jim Cooper (District 5) and Steve Cohen (District 9). Cooper has cosponsored hate crime legislation and ENDA. Cohen also cosponsored both pieces of legislation, as well as safe schools legislation. The loss of either would be a huge blow to LGBT rights.
Republican-dominated districts surround the Nashville area, and as a matter of principle every LGBT citizen in their districts should get out the vote just to send a message. Diane Black of District 6 introduced the current anti-abortion amendment when she was in the state senate. District 7’s Marsha Blackburn is practically infamously anti-LGBT. And District 4’s Scott DesJarlais, whose realm includes Murfreesboro, strongly opposes anti-discrimination employment laws.
State Senate Races of Note
Either way things are looking up in Knoxville. Richard Briggs is a hardcore conservative, but he’s no Stacey Campfield (whom he defeated in the Republican primary for Senate District 6). He is unlikely to go out of his way to target LGBT Tennesseans. Democratic candidate Cheri Siler is a known supporter of LGBT rights, however, and deserves enthusiastic support.
Jeff Yarbro (D) making a run at District 21. The incumbent, David Henry (D), is not running for reelection, so it’s vital to keep this seat blue. Yarbro is a long-time supporter of organizations like TEP, so we have high hopes for him.
Tony Gross (D) is running against Kerry Roberts (R) in District 25, and while Gross has no record on LGBT issues to speak of, he supports liberal healthcare and education policies, against Roberts, who is anti-abortion rights, anti-Obamacare, and anti-immigration.
State House Races of Note
While few local races are generating a lot of news, one local race which is in contest deserves note. Hermitage Rep. Darren Jernigan (D-60) is running for reelection, and he has a good record of support for, and from, the LGBT community. Further, Jernigan, along with Gloria Johnson (D-13), has been recognized by Battleground Tennessee PAC, which supports candidates whose races are key to promoting progressive politics. Good luck to both candidates.