Stateline Story

National Parties Hone in on Legislative Races

A pair of Tennessee legislative hopefuls are finding out first hand how badly national Democrats and Republicans want to control state legislatures in a redistricting year.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel reports that the two candidates, Democrat Keith Clotfelter and Republican Dennis Powers, could see an influx of money from their national parties as they battle each other in the 36 th District of the Tennessee House of Representatives, which Republicans control by a 51-48 margin (with one independent).

According to the paper, Clotfelter and Powers are "friends and neighbors, despite differing political philosophies," and they aren't used to running big-money campaigns: Powers had $935 in his campaign account at last report, while Clotfelter had $4,179.

All of that could change soon. The News-Sentinel reports that national Democrats and Republicans are poised to pour more than $1 million into Tennessee legislative races this year, with a particular emphasis on the House. Democrats need to win just two seats to regain control and get a much more prominent seat at the negotiating table during redistricting talks.