Elections 2018 Live Blog: Blackburn Beats Bredesen In Widely Watched Race | Nashville Public Radio

Elections 2018 Live Blog: Blackburn Beats Bredesen In Widely Watched Race

Nov 6, 2018

Updated at 9:15 p.m.

Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn has defeated her Democratic rival Phil Bredesen in a hard-fought race. The contest became a focal point of the national political map as Democrats sought to flip control of the Senate. Blackburn and Bredesen have each addressed their supporters.

In other down-ballot races, Democrat Bob Freeman holds a slight lead over Republican Brent Moody in the state House district comprising Belle Meade and Green Hills. That's the seat that was long held by Republican House Speaker Beth Harwell, who's retiring.

Nashville voters also appear to have approved a Community Oversight Board to review cases of potential police misconduct. The Fraternal Order of Police has issued a statement saying they plan to challenge the decision in court.

And in Montgomery County, voters appear to be rejecting for the third time an effort to merge city and county governments.  

We will publish follow-up stories on tonight's races in the coming days.

Scroll down below the election results for more reporting and analysis from WPLN reporters.

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Updated at 8:55 p.m.

The early voting results from Nashville have been tallied. But even with a strong lead in Davidson County for Democrat Phil Bredesen, Republican Marsha Blackburn still leads the Senate race statewide by 20 percentage points.

Many media outlets are calling the race for Blackburn, though NPR has not yet done so.

Former Nashville mayor Karl Dean has conceded the governor's race to Bill Lee.

In Wilson County, there's a close race over whether to increase the sales tax for education funding. Results from early voting showed 52 percent of voters have decided against it. We're not seeing any returns yet from Montgomery County, where residents are deciding whether to merge the county government with the city of Clarksville. 

And in Davidson County, voters are on track to approve all the amendments except for Amendment 5. That's the one that would extend term limits for council members. 

The hotly contested Amendment 1, which creates a community oversight board for police, is pulling ahead at 59 percent. Again, these are from early voting numbers only. However, Mayor David Briley has released a statement saying he'll support the amendment and will start meeting with groups as early as next week. 

Mark Green has won the 7th district seat for the House of Representatives, replacing Marsha Blackburn. Blackburn  is now a U.S. Senator. 

Updated at 8:15 p.m.

Governor-Elect Bill Lee just addressed supporters at The Factory in Franklin, TN, highlighting what could be focal points of his administration, including criminal justice, education, and limiting the role of government. Lee was introduced by Christian music star Michael W. Smith. 

Updated at 7:47 p.m.

The Associated Press has called the Tennessee governor's race for Bill Lee. 

Republicans have begun to offer their congratulations. Early voting results released so far show the Franklin businessman with a big lead in the race for governor over former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean. The Democratic's campaign has not yet commented on the race. 

Those early voting results also show Republican Congressman Marsha Blackburn ahead of former Governor Phil Bredesen in the race for Senate. The two have been locked in a heated — and highly combative — race.

Updated 7:37 p.m.

Early election results show a favorable lead for Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee over his Democratic opponent, Karl Dean. The governor's race has been distinctive in that neither candidate has really attacked the other.  

Voter Steve Johnson in Smyrna says he saw this as a point in favor of Bill Lee. He believes the Republican business owner is a "good man."

"He did not do a smear campaign," Johnson says. "He always gave his other opponent a good reference. He never talked bad about anybody."

In the race for Bob Corker's Senate seat, Marsha Blackburn has an early lead.

So far, many counties have yet to post any of their totals, so these results will likely change. We'll keep you posted on the races throughout the night here and on 90.3 WPLN-FM.

Updated 7:00 p.m.

WPLN's Blake Farmer is at The Factory in Franklin, where Bill Lee's watch party is kicking into gear, with an invocation from Robert Hill, a pastor from Memphis. Lee has made faith a centerpiece of his campaign. 

How The Candidates Spent Their Last Hours

Republican Marsha Blackburn’s last campaign stop today was at a Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers in Clarksville. The Congressman talked to a group of supporters and she said she feels positive she will be elected by people who care about "constitutional judges," tax cuts and immigration.

“We are going to win this race, and tonight I'm going to become your next U.S. Senator," she told the restaurant.

Blackburn voted early. Democrat Phil Bredesen cast his ballot this morning at Hillsboro Presbyterian Church.

In the gubernatorial race, Republican Bill Lee also voted this morning. And Democrat Karl Dean made his final pitch to voters at the Cathedral of Praise in Nashville.

"For my two mayoral elections, this is where I've ended up," he told WPLN.

Nashville Turnout Is Ahead Of Presidential Voting Pace

The lines at Nashville polls don’t just seem unusual today — they are, according to election officials.

Davidson County Administrator Jeff Roberts says the pace of turnout has been greater than in the most recent presidential election.

“We knew it was going to be a possibility of being big … We’ve got all the machines that we’ve got deployed. And, a lot of places, as many pollworkers as we can fit in the room, that’s how many we’ve got in there.”

Still, many polls are seeing lines — including a wait of nearly two hours at Antioch High School, where Roberts says some additional employees and machines have been sent.

Davidson County plans to post its early vote totals online only after all of today’s voters have had a chance to cast their ballots. Under state law, anyone who's in line when polls close at 7 p.m. must be allowed to vote.

Voters Weigh In On Historic Election

WPLN reporters have been talking to voters today and throughout the early voting period. Here's some of what they're telling us.

Some said they were voting for a particular party all the way down the ballot:

In an election season that has been so focused on the national politics, some voters said they were more concerned with local issues:

Whatever was getting them out to the polls, it was effective. 

This post will be updated throughout the evening.

Follow our reporters on Twitter tonight as they spend the evening with the leading candidates: Sergio Martínez-Beltrán at Marsha Blackburn, Tony Gonzalez at Phil Bredesen, Blake Farmer at Bill Lee, and Shalina Chatlani at Karl Dean.