Special vote could be bellwether for Tenn. General Assembly

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A special election in Knoxville to succeed new state Republican Party chairman Ryan Haynes in the state House could serve as a bellwether for Gov. Bill Haslam’s policies in the General Assembly.

The election pits nurse and school board member Karen Carson, a supporter of Haslam’s Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health coverage to a projected 280,000 low-income people in the state, against telecommunications broker Jason Zachary, who opposes the governor’s plan.

While the result won’t directly change the hesitance in the House to embrace Medicaid expansion, a loss by Carson in an affluent section of the governor’s hometown would deal a heavy blow to supporters.

There is no Democrat running in the heavily Republican district, meaning the winner of Wednesday’s vote will become the new House District 14 representative.