Can an atheist win in Tennessee? It’s been one of many questions surrounding a closely watched State Senate race.
A lot is at stake for both Tennessee Republicans and Democrats statewide.
Gayle Jordan, who is a farmer, mediation lawyer, and a Democrat, doesn’t hide her atheism as she pursues a Middle Tennessee State Senate seat.
“We have not considered it a negative for our campaign. It’s given me the opportunity to tell what does drive me. My life and my campaign is driven by reason and compassion,” said Jordan.
Candidate Shane Reeves, who is a pharmacist, Christian, and Republican, points out differences in campaign material.
“I do believe the voters, when you are looking at a district that is 80% Christian, where faith is a really big part of them and they simply want to align with them and their core values, I think that is a big deal,” said Reeves.
Reeves has spent heavily in the State Senate race compared to Jordan, and brought in big Republican names to campaign with him.
“There is a lot of very good things going on in TN economically, and I want to continue to be part of that as a businessman. And in health care and as a pharmacist, I think I can make a big difference in that,” said Reeves.
Jordan feels a very close Senate race a few months back in a neighboring district bodes well for her and stances, like pro-medical cannabis.
“It’s not just pro-cannabis platform, it’s pro-education, pro-teacher. The pro-infrastructure, everything that is yes, lets invest in this. These are not expenditures, they are investments,” said Jordan.
Turnout is always the key in special elections like this one, and the results will be closely watched in Tennessee.
The winner fulfills the remaining term of former Senate Republican leader Jim Tracy who resigned his seat last fall for a job in the Trump administration.