Tennessee Republicans aim to flip U.S. House seats in Thursday primary

Polls closed at 7 p.m. in Tennessee’s primaries on Thursday. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 4 (UPI) — Polls closed Thursday evening in Tennessee’s primary election to select nominees for a slew of races, including several newly redrawn U.S. congressional races expected to favor Republicans.

Republicans are targeting the 5th Congressional District, where Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat, retired after redistricting turned the district red. Democrat Heidi Campbell is running unopposed, while the Republican primary will see six candidates vying for the nomination — Geni Batchelor, Jeff Beierlein, Natisha Brooks, Beth Harwell, Timothy Lee and Andy Ogles.

WTVF-TV in Nashville predicted turnout at this year’s primaries would be high due to the competitive nature of the 5th District race, along with two General Assembly seats — State Senate District 19 and House District 52.

The 5th District is one of several across the country that Republicans hope to flip to regain control of the House.

In the gubernatorial race, incumbent Gov. Bill Lee is running unopposed for the Republican Party nomination and will face one of three Democratic contenders in November — Carnita Atwater, Jason Martin or JB Smiley.

If a Democrat wins in November, the state could have its first Black governor in Atwater or Smiley, or a physician who’s never held political office in Martin. The state last had a Democratic governor in 2006 with Phil Bredesen.