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Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2010

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In the Tennessee gubernatorial election of 2010, held on November 2, 2010, Republican Bill Haslam, the Mayor of Knoxville, defeated Democrat Mike McWherter. Incumbent Phil Bredesen, the Democratic Governor of Tennessee, was term-limited.

In the August 5, 2010 primary elections, Mike McWherter faced no primary opposition while Bill Haslam was challenged by at least two credible challengers, Congressman Zach Wamp and Lieutenant Governor Ronald "Ron" Ramsey. Haslam topped both opponents, though he won by GOP nomination by 47.5%, less than a majority.

November 2, 2010 general election results

All results were official as of November 22, 2010.[1]

Governor of Tennessee, 2010
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBill Haslam 65% 1,041,545
     Democratic Mike McWherter 33.1% 529,851
     Independent Carl Twofeathers Whitaker 0.4% 6,536
     Independent Brandon Dodds 0.3% 4,728
     Independent Bayron Binkley 0.3% 4,663
     Independent June Griffin 0.2% 2,587
     Independent Linda K. Perry 0.1% 2,057
     Green Howard Switzer 0.1% 1,887
     Independent Samuel D. Duck 0.1% 1,755
     Independent Thomas Smith, II 0.1% 1,207
     Independent Toni K. Hall 0.1% 993
     Independent David Gatchell 0.1% 859
     Independent Boyce T. McCall 0.1% 828
     Independent James Reesor 0.1% 809
     Independent Mike Knois 0% 600
     Independent Donald R. McFolin 0% 583
     Write-In Various 0% 61
Total Votes 1,601,549
Election Results via U.S. Election Atlas

August 5, 2010 primary

2010 Race for Governor - Republican Primary[2]
Candidates Percentage
Green check mark.jpg Bill Haslam (R) 47.5%
Joe Kirkpatrick (R) 0.9%
Basil Marceaux(R) 0.5%
Ron Ramsey (R) 22.0%
Zach Wamp 29.1%
Total votes 717,038

Inauguration and transition

Inaugural date

Governor-elect Bill Haslam will be inaugurated on January 15, 2011.

The official inauguration website is, as of November 22nd, not yet live. Haslam's Campaign Finance Director, Kim Kaegi, will be in charge of planning for the inaugural celebrations.

Transition team

Bill Haslam is now serving as the transition website.

The transition team may also be reached at:

1701 West End Avenue
Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615 254 4799

Tom Ingram, who served as general consultant to the gubernatorial campaign, will direct the transition.[3] Ingram's top aides will be Haslam's campaign manager, Mark Cate, and Larry Levine, the President of the Center for Nonprofit Management.

Beyond that, Governor-elect Haslam has said he will not name formal transition committees and will instead rely on volunteers and on the input of Tennessee's citizens.

Appointments in the Haslam Administration

On November 21, 2010, Governor-elect Haslam named his first appointee, Herbert Slatery, to be Legal Counsel to the Governor. Slatery is currently partner at Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis in Knowville.

Haslam has indicated he will make Slatery's position a cabinet level job.[4]

Race ratings

See also: Gubernatorial elections 2010, Race tracking

2010 Race Rankings Tennessee
Race Tracker Race Rating
The Cook Political Report[5] Likely Republican
Congressional Quarterly Politics[6] Leans Republican
Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball[7] Likely Republican
Rasmussen Reports Gubernatorial Scorecard[8] Solid GOP
The Rothenberg Political Report[9] Currently Safe Republican
Overall Call Republican


2. Rothenberg moved races from "Republican Favored" to "Currently Safe Republican" in its October 1st ratings.

1. Cook Political Report moved races from "Lean Republican" to "Likely Republican" in its September 30th ratings.


The November Ballot – Who Made It? Tennessee Governor[10][11]
Nominee Affiliation
Mike McWherter Democrat
William "Bill" Haslam Republican
Howard Switzer Green
June Griffin Independent
Brandon Dodds Independent
Samuel David Duck - withdrew Independent
Carl Twofeathers Whitaker Independent
Boyce T. McCall Independent
Toni K. Hall Independent
Donald Ray McFolin Independent
James Reesor Independent
Bayron Binkley Independent
Mike Knois Independent
Thomas Smith, II Independent
David Gatchell Independent
Linda Kay Perry Independent
This lists candidates who won their state's primary or convention, or who were unopposed, and who were officially certified for the November ballot by their state's election authority.


  • Attorney Mike McWherter worked in private practice and is a small business owner. He had never held elected office before entering the race.



  • Bayron E. Binkley, Jr., a real estate broker a banker
  • Brandon Dodds grew up on a family farm in Newbern, Tennessee, where he still resides and practices medicine as a optometrist.
  • Samuel David Duck touted himself as an Independent Federalist and stressed that he has never run for office before.
  • David Gatchell had his petition pulled at the Division of Election on March 29, 2010.
  • Toni K. Hall
  • Mike Knois
  • Boyce T. McCall, Sr. is a Korean War veteran and retired police officer who also owned his own electrical business.
  • Donald Ray McFolin
  • Linda Kay Perry
  • James Reesor, a oil painter, cartoonist, and self-styled Prophet.
  • Thomas Smith, II
  • Carl "Two Feathers" Whitaker, a police officer and owner of a security firm

Prohibition Party


  • William "Bill" Haslam, the mayor of Knoxville for seven years, started his professional career in the travel business, working at a family owner firm
  • Joe Kirkpatrick has ended his campaign and endorsed Ron Ramsey
  • Basil Marceaux, Sr., a Marine veteran, also ran for U.S. Senate seat.
  • Lt. Governor Ronald "Ron" Ramsey, also the Speaker of the State Senate, is a small business owner and has been active in Tennessee business and politics for several years. He served in the State House of Representatives before winning election to the Senate and the Lt. Gov's office.
  • Congressman Zach Wamp was a small business owner and real estate broker before winning the state's 3rd Congressional seat. In 14 years in Congress, he has sat on the Energy and Water Sub Committee and has sat on the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs as the ranking member. Early in his Congressional tenure, he established the Tennessee Technology Corridor.


General election polling

2010 Race for Tennessee Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Haslam (R) McWherter (D) Other Don't Know
October 7, 2010[12] 59% 31% 2% 7%
August 9, 2010[13] 56% 31% 3% 10%
(Sample)[14] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05

Primary election polling

2010 Race for Tennessee Governor - Rasmussen Reports
Date Reported Haslam McWherter Other Don't Know
June 17, 2010[15] 50% 32% 5% 14%
March 24, 2010[16] 45% 27% 5% 23%
Date Reported Ramsey McWherter Other Don't Know
June 17, 2010[17] 44% 33% 7% 16%
March 24, 2010[18] 43% 29% 5% 23%
Date Reported Wamp McWherter Other Don't Know
June 17, 2010[19] 44% 33% 8% 14%
March 24, 2010[20] 41% 31% 7% 22%
(Sample)[21] n=500 MoE=+/- 4.5% p=0.05

Issue positions


Phil Bredesen, the outgoing Democratic governor of Tennessee, issued an indirect challenged to his successor on the issue of ObamaCare. In his book, "Fresh Medicine," Bredesen calls the bill's passage, "a stunning disappointment" and laments that, "[t]he problem was expanding coverage is about all we did.”[22]

Bredesen instead called for rebuilding the nation's healthcare delivery system entirely, saying Obama's signature bill instead added on services and entitlements to a system that couldn't cover its expenses as it is.

"Government loves complexity, rules and red tape, but we may have outdone ourselves this time,” Bredesen writes. “Reform offered a chance to clean up the baroque system we have created over the years, reduce bureaucracy, lower administrative cost and give clarity and focus to a major part of where we spend our taxpayers’ money.

“Instead, we created more complexity, more regulations and the need for more bureaucracy.”

As governor, Bredesen trimmed the rolls and cut benefits for TennCare, moves that were controversial and that he maintains were absolutely needed. However, he has gone on record saying he feels all he did was buy Tennessee about a decade and that the enxt governor will have much harder choices to make surrounding government provided medical care.


The NRA declines to make an endorsement

In a state where a concealed carry permit allows you to take a loaded firearm into a bar, the National Rifle Associaiton is bound to hold some sway. So, when they officially announced they would make no endorsement in the gubernatorial race, it mattered.

Republican Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter respectively get a B- and a C- from the NRA for their overall positions on Second Amendment rights. It seems those grades just weren't good enough to land an endorsement.[23]

NRA spokeswoman Rachel Parsons pointed out that McWherter, seeking public office for the first time, had no voting record to consider. However, she said the NRA passed him over for an endorsement based on a questionnaire he completed.

The Republican would fare no better. Parsons remarked on Haslam's generally strong record supporting un rights but noted that, as the Mayor of Knoxville, he was weak on supporting the bill to allow concealed carry in restaurants and bars.

Given his poll numbers, Haslam didn't need to backing of the NRA, traditionally aligned with Republican candidates, to win. In other key races, though, the GOP was less than pleased to see NRA endorsement go to Democrats.[24][25]

Primary news

A day out from the primary, the Republican field may already be down to one contender - Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, who has a double-digit lead over both Congressman Zach Wamp and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey.[26] Haslam's 36% puts him well ahead of both Wamp, who wins 25%, and Ramsey, who comes in third with 20%. Last minute campaigning has been heavily focused in the west of the state, where polls indicate the GOP primary is the tightest.

What Wamp and Ramsey lack in poll numbers they are making up in name recognition, as recent firestorms in the race attest. Congressman Wamp suggested in an interview with the National Journal that, ""I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government."[27] While he was specifically speaking in terms of response to increasing federal mandates on states, the secessionist flavor of his remarks made waves.

Ron Ramsey, meanwhile, suggested at a townhall that Islam might be a cult and might not qualify for Constitution protections of religion, answering a question, in part, ""Now, you could even argue whether being a Muslim is actually a religion, or is it a nationality, way of life, cult whatever you want to call it."[28]

Gubernatorial electoral history

1998 Gubernatorial Results[29]
Candidates Percentage
Don Sundquist (R) 68.9%
John Jay Hooker (D) 29.6%
George Alexander Hamilton, Sr. (I) 0.6%
Irwin W. Gibbs (I) 0.5%
Lonnie L. Creech (I) 0.4%
Total votes 971,994
2002 Gubernatorial Results[30]
Candidates Percentage
Phil Bredsen (D) 50.6%
Van Hilleary (R) 47.6%
Edwin Sanders (I) 0.5%
Carl Whitaker (I) 0.3%
John Hooker (I) 0.3%
David Gatchell (I) 0.2%
Gabriel Givens (I) 0.1%
Ray Ledford (I) 0.1%
James Herren (I) 0.1%
Total votes 1,652,791
2006 Gubernatorial Results[31]
Candidates Percentage
Phil Bredesen (D) 68.6%
Jim Bryson (R) 29.7%
Carl Whitaker (I) 0.6%
George Banks (I) 0.4%
Charles Smith (I) 0.2%
Howard Switzer (I) 0.2%
David Gatchell (I) 0.1%
Marivuana Leinoff (I) 0.1%
Total votes 1,818,542

Presidential electoral history

2000 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 51.15%
Al Gore (D) 47.28%
2004 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George W. Bush (R) 56.80%
John Kerry (D) 42.53%
2008 Presidential Results[32]
Candidates Percentage
John McCain (R) 56.85%
Barack Obama (D) 41.79%

1992 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
George H.W. Bush (R) 42.43%
Bill Clinton (D) 47.08%
1996 Presidential Results
Candidates Percentage
Bob Dole (R) 45.59%
Bill Clinton (D) 48.00%

See also

External links

Candidate pages


  1. Tennessee Department of State, "Unofficial Election Results November 2, 2010," accessed November 15, 2010 and December 23, 2010
  2. Tennessee Department of State, "Unofficial Results of t he 2010 Primary: Governor - Republican," accessed August 6, 2010
  3. Bill Haslam, "Haslam Announces Transition Team," November 9, 2010
  4. Bill Haslam, "Haslam Names Herbert Slatery as Legal Counsel to the Governor," November 21, 2010
  5. The Cook Political, “Governors: Race Ratings”
  6. CQ Politics, “2010 Race Ratings: Governors”
  7. Larry J. Sabato's Crystal Ball', “2010 Governor Ratings”
  8. Rasmussen Reports', “Election 2010: Scorecard Ratings”
  9. Rothenberg Political Report, “Governor Ratings”
  10. Tennessee Division of Elections “Certified Primary Winners, August 5, 2010
  11. Tennessee Division of Elections, “Official List of 2010 Candidates: Candidates for U.S House and Governor”, accessed September 19, 2010
  12. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: Haslam (R) Earns Highest Support Yet Against McWherter (D)," October 11, 2010
  13. Haslam (R) 56%, McWherter (D) 31% Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: Haslam (R) Earns Highest Support Yet Against McWherter (D)," August 10, 2010
  14. [More complete methodology and sampling tabs are available at www.RasmussenReports.com]
  15. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: McWherter (D) Trails GOP Hopefuls," June 17, 2010
  16. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: Republicans Hold Early Advantage," March 24, 2010
  17. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: McWherter (D) Trails GOP Hopefuls," June 17, 2010
  18. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: Republicans Hold Early Advantage," March 24, 2010
  19. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: McWherter (D) Trails GOP Hopefuls," June 17, 2010
  20. Rasmussen Reports, "Election 2010: Tennessee Governor: Republicans Hold Early Advantage," March 24, 2010
  21. [More complete methodology and sampling tabs are available at www.RasmussenReports.com]
  22. Memphis Daily News Blog, "More from Bredesen on Healthcare," October 12, 2010
  23. Wall Street Journal, "NRA: No Endorsement in Tenn. Governor’s Race," October 6, 2010
  24. NewsMax, "Republicans Riled as NRA Endorses Some Democratic Incumbents," October 7, 2010
  25. Washington Post, "NRA backs Democrats in key races, frustrating GOP," October 6, 2010
  26. The Commercial Appeal, "Poll: Haslam leads GOP field in Tennessee governor's race," July 25, 2010
  27. HotLine OnCall, "Healthcare Law Has Wamp Hoping Against Secession," July 23, 2010
  28. Talking Points Memo, "Tennessee Lt. Gov: Religious Freedom May Not Count For Muslims (VIDEO)," July 26, 2010
  29. Tennessee Department of State, “1998 General Election Results“
  30. Tennessee Department of State, “2002 General Election Results“
  31. Tennessee Department of State, “2006 General Election Results“
  32. Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections', accessed July 28, 2010