Tre Hargett

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Tre Hargett
Tre Hargett.jpg
Tennessee Secretary of State
In office
January 15, 2009 - Present
Term ends
Years in position 6
PredecessorRiley Darnell (D)
President, National Association of Secretaries of State
Treasurer, National Association of Secretaries of State
Base salary$190,260
Elections and appointments
AppointedJanuary 15, 2009
Appointed byTennessee General Assembly
Campaign $$395,847
Term limitsNone
Prior offices
Tennessee Regulatory Authority
Tennessee House of Representatives
Bachelor'sMemphis State University (1991)
Master'sMemphis State University (1992)
Date of birthFebruary 7, 1969
Place of birthDyersburg, TN
ReligionSouthern Baptist
Office website
Personal website
Tre Hargett (born February 7, 1969, in Ripley, Tennessee) is the 37th and current Tennessee Secretary of State. Unlike most states, in Tennessee the secretary is elected by joint vote of the General Assembly.

With the support of Governor Phil Bredesen, the newly elected GOP majority in the state legislature voted to replace longtime Secretary of State Riley Darnell, a Democrat, with Hargett, a Republican. He officially took office on January 15, 2009.[1]

Since becoming Secretary of State, Hargett has made transparency in state government a priority, which he previously championed while a member of the Tennessee General Assembly.[2]

Secretary of State has historically been a low profile office, something Hargett began to change after taking office. Hargett began making speeches across the state at political events, leading to speculation that he was planning to run for a higher office. Hargett, however, said he just wants Tennesseans to know more about what the office does.[3][4]

Hargett worked his way up through the levels of state government, beginning with the Tennessee House of Representatives, which he joined in 1996. After 10 years in that body he was named chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority in 2007, serving in that role until taking over as Secretary of State.[2]


Hargett attended Memphis State University, where he got significant leadership experience as Vice President and President of Student Government Association, and established his political identity as a member of the College Republicans and Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. He graduated in 1991 with a degree in accounting. He remained at the University for another year to complete his M.B.A.[5]


  • Bachelor of Business Administration degree, Memphis State University (1991) in accounting (with Honor)
  • Master of Business Administration degree, Memphis State University (1992) in marketing[1]

Political career

Tennessee Secretary of State (2009-present)

Hargett was elected in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly to serve as the 37th Tennessee Secretary of State. He is the current president of the National Association of Secretaries of State.[6] Before being elected president in July 2013, he served as the organization's treasurer. He is also on the board of directors of the American Council of Young Political Leaders.

TVCA Controversy

Hargett drew the ire of Tennessee Democrats for his refusal to comply with the Tennessee Voter Confidence Act (TVCA), which passed almost unanimously in the state legislature and was signed into law by the governor in 2008. The TVCA required all 95 counties in Tennessee to purchase or lease optical scan voting machines and hand-count voter-verified paper ballots no later than the November 2010 elections. Hargett insisted, however, that it was impossible to meet such a deadline.[7] He argued that while the act “requires counties to use only certified equipment that meets the security and reliability standards adopted by the federal Election Assistance Commission in 2005,”[8] there currently existed no vendors certified to sell equipment that met said standards.

Tennessee Democrats, however, did not buy it. Chip Forrester, chairman of the Tennessee Democratic Party, accused Hargett and state Republicans of “conspiracy to steal elections through intimidation, fraud, and denial of basic constitutional rights.”[9] He went so far as to call for Hargett to be fired as the state’s secretary of state.

Tennessee Regulatory Authority (2007-2009)

Hargett was nominated in 2007 to serve as Chairman of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority (TRA), which sets the rates and service standards of privately owned telephone, natural gas, electric, and water utilities within the state, a role he filled from February 2008 until he resigned in January 2009 in order to take up the office of Secretary of State.[10]

Tennessee House of Representatives (1996-2006)

First elected in 2006, Hargett served 10 years as a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives. Twice he was selected by his Republican colleagues to act as their caucus leader, holding the position from 2003 to 2005.

Tax-relief for seniors

During his time in the Tennessee State House, Hargett co-sponsored Senate Joint Resolution One, a state constitutional amendment created specifically to facilitate property tax relief for senior citizens. The amendment won the approval of the people of Tennessee, garnering eighty-three percent of the vote.[11]



In Tennessee, the secretary of state is elected by joint vote of the Tennessee General Assembly, and serves a term of four years. Hargett was elected in 2009 by the Tennessee General Assembly.


General Election
Tennessee House of Representatives-District 097, 2004
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTre Hargett Incumbent 76.3% 18,293
     Democratic Susan Slyfield 23.7% 5,683
Total Votes 23,976


  • Primary Election
    • Hargett ran unopposed in the Republican primary.


  • General election
Tennessee House of Representatives-District 097, 2002
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngTre Hargett Incumbent 81.6% 13,447
     Independence James Edwards 15.4% 2,539
     Independence Austin Farley 3% 491
Total Votes 16,483


  • Primary Election
    • Hargett drew almost 99% of the vote in the 2002 Republican primary contest, in which he faced Write-in challengers.

1996, 1998, 2000

Hargett ran unopposed in three consecutive races for District 97 of the State House.

Campaign donors

Comprehensive donor information for Hargett is available dating back to 1996. Based on available campaign finance records, Hargett raised a total of $395,846 during that time period. This information was last updated on May 10, 2013.[14]

Tre Hargett's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2004 TN House of Representatives Won $171,223
2002 TN House of Representatives Won $40,800
2000 TN House of Representatives Won $98,031
1998 TN House of Representatives Won $70,717
1996 TN House of Representatives Won $15,075
Grand Total Raised $395,846


Tre Hargett and his wife, Dawn, currently reside in Hendersonville, Tennessee with their two children. He is a member of Bluegrass Southern Baptist Church.[15]

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See also

External links

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Political offices
Preceded by
Riley Darnell (D)
Tennessee Secretary of State
Succeeded by