Updated: Jan 27
The 2022 midterm elections have the power to change the political landscape in states across the nation.
With control of Congress on the line and a slate of governor races hanging in the balance, Tennesseans are gearing up to send new voices to Capitol Hill.
Here’s what the elections are looking like locally and nationally:
There are a few positions up for election or re-election in Davidson County. These include Belle Meade Municipal Election City Commissioner, Forest Hills Municipal Election City Commissioner and Goodlettsville Municipal Election City Commissioner.
Election Day in Tennessee will have many candidates on the ballot, including positions in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tennessee governor, Tennessee House of Representatives, Tennessee Supreme Court and a slate of ballot measures.
Tennesseans will vote to keep Republican Gov. Bill Lee in the State Capitol or hand the keys to Democratic candidate Dr. Jason Martin.
Lee has “strengthened career and technical training, expanded school choice, passed the most pro-life legislation in the country, achieved meaningful justice reform, cut taxes and sharpened the effectiveness of government” in his four years as governor, according to the Office of the Governor’s website.
On the other side of the ballot, Martin plans to prioritize improvements in the Tennessee healthcare system. He feels his background as a physician allowed him to see “how a lack of access to adequate healthcare was detrimental to people’s lives – and how in some cases, it cost people their lives,” the Tennessean reported.
As U.S. House elections take place, Tennessee will feel the effects of gerrymandering following the 2020 Census. Gerrymandering is the redrawing of congressional districts to influence the political party of the representative of that district. After each U.S. Census, states can change their congressional district lines.
Tennessee, as reported by Ballotpedia, was apportioned nine congressional seats. This is the same number as previous years but the 5th Congressional District, which includes Nashville, was split into three districts earlier this year.
There are also four amendments to the Tennessee State Constitution on the ballot, including one that would formally prohibit slavery in the state.
Midterm election season, on a national scale, will see states and its congressional districts deal with a multitude of new factors impacting election results.
Two of these areas are Alaska’s at-large district and Maine’s second district, with their ranked choice voting system. The Alaskan candidates are incumbent Democrat Mary Peltola, and two Republican opposers, Sarah Palin and Nick Begich. In Maine, incumbent Democrat Jared Golden will oppose Republican Bruce Poliquin. Both candidates have held the seat in the past.
Arizona’s second district is another election to pay attention to, as it will showcase the effect of gerrymandering districts. Incumbent democrat Tom O’Halleran opposes Republican Eli Crane after Arizona’s congressional districts were redrawn to encompass more Republican voters in the east.
The possibility of party switches in districts due to redrawing and gerrymandering is prevalent in many states. Aside from Arizona, Florida’s 13th district, Kansas’s 3rd district and Ohio’s 9th district will likely all feel the effects of this.
The Pennsylvania senate race has been particularly newsworthy, with Oprah Winfrey publicly stating her support for Democratic candidate John Fetterman. He opposes Republican candidate Mehmet Oz, also known as Dr. Oz of “The Dr. Oz Show.” Fetterman has the slight edge, but Oz is closing the gap, CNN Politics reported.
Nathan Griffith, Belmont political science professor, urges students to vote for the right reasons.
“Students ask me often: should I vote? And my answer in the end is yes, but it depends on why… if you’re doing it because you think you’re going to change the outcome, you’re going to wake up one day and realize ‘Oh I forgot to vote, and it wouldn’t have changed the outcome, I still got the same thing’.”
We often do not show up to the elections where it matters, Griffith said. Municipal election turnouts are incredibly low, where an individual vote has a much higher chance of making an impact than it does in a national election, where election turnouts are much higher.
“I call it the ‘warm fuzzies,’” he said. “When I go vote, I often see people from my neighborhood, from the church I attend, I see them volunteering, I’m reminded that I’m part of a bigger project that involves other people, that we are interdependent with each other.”
This article was written by Katie-Beth Cannon