As Super Tuesday Looms, Tennessee Heats Up

Tejas Ogale, Contributor

With Super Tuesday just around the corner, presidential campaigning is well underway in the state of Tennessee. With the early voting period having closed on Tuesday, February 25th, all eyes now turn to the ballot box, with voting scheduled for March 3rd. Tennessee is an open primary state, meaning any registered voter can vote in whichever primary they choose at their polling location. 

On the Republican ticket, campaigning has been minimal, with incumbent President Donald Trump expected to win the state with wide margins. Only 3 candidates have qualified for the ballot—Trump, former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld, and former Congressman Joe Walsh. 

The Democratic field makes for a much more intriguing and evolving primary. With 15 candidates on the ballot, the contest for Tennessee’s 64 pledged delegates and 9 superdelegates is heating up. It remains unclear where each of the candidates stand in the field, with the only meaningful polling in the state of Tennessee being conducted in July 2019. Since then, the landscape of the Democratic primaries has changed dramatically, as many candidates have dropped out and new candidates have declared. In that poll, former Vice-President Joe Biden led all candidates with 33% of respondents supporting him, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren (18%), Senator Bernie Sanders (13%), Senator Kamala Harris (12%), who has since dropped out, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (6%), and many other trailing candidates. It is important to note that one of the front-runners in this year’s Democratic primaries, former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, had not and was not expected to announce his candidacy. 

Just this week, several candidates are slated to make or have made campaign stops in the hotly contested state. Bloomberg is making his fourth campaign trip to the state on Friday February 28th in the cities of Memphis, Clarksville, and Johnson City. Amy Klobuchar will spend Friday evening campaigning and fundraising in Nashville, while Sanders’ wife, Dr. Jane Sanders, campaigned on her husband’s behalf on Wednesday February 26th. Warren has enlisted the help of actress and Tennessee native Ashley Judd, who will be campaigning on the candidate’s behalf on Monday March 2nd and Tuesday March 3rd in the Nashville-Franklin area. 

Given the current landscape of the Democratic primaries, Tennessee will undoubtedly be a critical state for many candidates. With a lack of reliable, recent polling, it truly is difficult to make an accurate prediction regarding the winners in the state. However, it is safe to say that candidates will be watching Tennessee’s results closely when Super Tuesday arrives.