Gov. Bill Haslam is poised to face a little known candidate with a famous name, Charlie Brown.
The Republican governor has cruised to his party's nomination for a second term, easily defeating a field of three challengers. Democrats, meanwhile, appear set to nominate an unknown candidate from Oakdale who happened to share a name with a cartoon character and appeared at the top of the ballot.
Brown, whose campaign appears to consist of a Facebook page of him posing with three catfish, leads the four-way race for the Democratic nomination with about three-fifths of the state's precincts counted. John McKamey, a former mayor of Sullivan County and the only candidate actively campaigning for the Democratic nomination, was second.
With results still being tallied, Haslam had 88 percent of the GOP vote. Mark Coonrippy Brown, an animal control specialist from Gallatin who ran mainly to protest the state's seizure of his pet raccoon, was second with 7 percent, followed by Donald Ray McFolin, a wildlife artist from Donelson at 3 percent and Basil Marceaux Sr., a former Marine from Soddy Daisy, at 2 percent.
Haslam has not faced a significant challenge during the Republican primary, and it would appear that he will not get much of one in the coming three months. Charlie Brown has reported raising no money for his campaign, and he has not responded to interview requests.
The only sign of a campaign has been a Facebook page on which his first name is misspelled. That page had 29 likes before last evening, as well as a few unanswered questions from voters. Its dominant feature is a profile photo of him proudly displaying his fish.
Brown, however, did have the advantages of a famous name and placement atop the Democratic ballot. That same placement propelled an equally unknown candidate, Mark Clayton, to the Democratic nomination for Senate two years ago, only to be trounced subsequently in the general election.
Haslam's campaign has been more active — but not as much as might be expected for a governor seeking re-election. He did not hold a formal kick-off for his re-election bid until the end off May, and he had not campaigned full-time before this week.
Haslam said he plans to follow a similar plan for November.
"We'll be out around the state, and advertising to some degree," he said. "I do think it's important. An election is a chance to be out and talk to people.
Previous story(AP) - Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has won the Republican primary.
The outcome from Thursday's election was widely expected.
Haslam faced no serious opposition in his bid for the November ballot and a chance for a second term.
Unofficial and early results show Haslam with more than 88 percent of the vote, far ahead of his closest rival.
This year's primary was a far cry from Haslam's first run for governor four years ago, when he faced a spirited nomination fight with U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey.