Clay voters follow the national trend with a GOP sweep



CLAY COUNTY-Voters here produced a countywide sweep for Republicans in last week’s midterm election, following the national trend that handed the “Grand Ole Party” control of the House of Representatives in Washington.

The anti-Democratic sentiment even filtered down to the state level in many races, with the most notable example for voters here coming with Republican Kelly Keisling defeating 26-year Democratic incumbent Les Winningham in the battle for Tennessee’s 38th District House seat.

Former Pickett County mayor Keisling garnered over 55% of the districtwide vote and defeated Winningham by well over 1,800 total votes.  Keisling’s 7,965 votes bested Winningham’s 6,140, punching his ticket to Nashville for the next two years.

Local voting followed the district breakdown with Keisling receiving just under 55%.  He got 1,028 votes compared to Winningham’s 862 in Clay County.

“It was an extremely gratifying win and a humbling experience,” Keisling said in his thank you note to voters this week.  “I am looking forward to representing our district and encourage you to contact me anytime.”

Winningham, who has served the people of Clay County for parts of three decades and accomplished much for the area, also offered his gratitude to voters.

“It has been an honor to serve you,” Winningham said in his thank you note following the defeat.  “I have appreciated your support and trust.”

The Republican dominance was also seen locally in the governor’s race, U.S. House 6th Congressional District race, and the 17th District State Senate race, with the GOP candidates pulling nearly 60% of the vote in each.

Diane Black will replace the retiring Bart Gordon in Washington helping tip the odds in Republican favor in the House.  She beat Democrat Brett Carter 1,121 to 696 in Clay County on her way to blowing out the race districtwide by the count of 128,340 to 56,057.

Incumbent Republican Mae Beavers received 1,077 votes and her Democratic opponent George McDonald got 819 here in the State Senate race, but she increased her margin districtwide garnering over 60% of the vote with 35,747 versus McDonald’s 21,332.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Bill Haslam took landslide victory statewide in the race for Tennessee’s top decision-maker over Democrat Mike McWherter, but his margin was a bit closer locally.

Haslam did get just under 60% of the votes cast in Clay County, but his 1,179 to 778 victory here was a few percentage marks below his statewide margin of 1,041,576 to 529,983–where he doubled up McWherter.