Black succeeds Gordon

Thursday, November 4, 2010

State Sen. Diane Black's 6th District victory Tuesday helped Republicans gain control of Tennessee's congressional delegation for the first time in nearly a decade.

With 26 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday night, Black had 43,678 votes, or 67 percent of the vote, to Brett Carter's 18,820, or 29 percent. In Marshall County, Black received 4,680 votes, or 64.3 percent of the votes over Carter's 2,300 votes, or 31.6 percent of the votes here.

The state's congressional delegation tipped to the GOP for the first time since Congressman Lincoln Davis was elected in 2002. Republicans won seven of nine races, with only Nashville's Jim Cooper and Memphis' Steve Cohen winning for the Democrats.

Black's victory was not a surprise.

However, what might arguably be described as a landslide for Black was apparently not anticipated by Marshall County Democratic Party Chairman Chris Collins.

"I think it will be within 7-10 points," Collins said as early vote totals were being announced. "I'll be surprised if Carter pulls it out, but I hope he does."

Carter was one of two Iraqi war veterans running for the Democratic nomination. He returned to the states with a Bronze Star after serving as an attorney dealing with rules of engagement and how detainees were held.

Marshall County Republican Party Chairwoman Shirley Lowe anticipated Black's victory.

"Black is definitely ahead," Lowe said on the telephone from her home where she watched results. "It looks like she's going to win her seat."

Black will succeed U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon (D-Murfreesboro), a long-time congressman who was the dean of the state's legislative delegation to the U.S. Capitol. Gordon chose against running for re-election.

The 6th District race was among at least three expected to turn as Republicans gained control of the U.S. House.

In the 6th, Black, a registered nurse, made headlines before the August primary when campaign ads by one of her opponents alleged a drug testing company owned by her husband received $1 million in state contracts. A defamation lawsuit was brought by the company and is currently in mediation.

Despite the negative publicity, indicators pointed to Black as a likely favorite to win the race in the suburbs east of Nashville. One was her distinct money edge over Carter and the fact that the district has been trending Republican since incumbent Rep. Bart Gordon first won it in 1984.

Gordon enjoyed easy victories in the mostly Democratic district in the early 1990s, as did former President Bill Clinton and former Vice President Al Gore in 1992. Gore once represented the district.

But the district started to trend Republican, with former President George Bush carrying the district in 2000 and 2004 as did presidential candidate John McCain in 2008.