(CNN) – Bill Haslam, the mayor of Knoxville and considered a moderate Republican, easily won the Tennessee GOP primary for governor Thursday, the Tennessee Department of State's website reported.
With all of the state's precincts reporting Haslam had 47.5 percent of the vote as he defeated Congressman Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
Halsam, who helped fund some of his own campaign, will now face Mike McWherter, a Democratic businessman and son of a former governor. The race is to succeed Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, who is prevented by term limits from running for a third term. Political handicappers think Republicans have a good shot at winning back the governor's office.
(CNN) - Polls are open in Tennessee, where a Republican gubernatorial battle and some contentious House nomination fights are in the spotlight in Thursday's primary.
Five candidates are on the ballot in the GOP contest for governor, but recent polls indicate it's a three-man race between Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey. The race grabbed national attention last month because of controversial comments by two of the candidates.
Last month Wamp appeared to suggest that Tennessee should consider secession in light of mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill. The eight-term congressman later walked back from those comments.
Ramsey also drew attention to himself last month after he was seen in a You Tube video questioning whether Islam is a religion while expressing his opposition to the expansion of a mosque in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, which has become a hot-button issue in the city about 35 miles southeast of Nashville.
(CNN) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry's suggestion in April 2009 that his state might consider secession drew a round of mockery nationwide, but his blustery populist rhetoric earned him serious traction among GOP primary voters in his re-election fight against Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.
Perry, riding a tide of anti-Washington sentiment, went on to trounce Hutchison and another candidate in the Republican primary earlier this year.
Now another gubernatorial hopeful is test-driving a similar message.
Rep. Zach Wamp, one of three candidates seeking the GOP gubernatorial nomination in Tennessee, told Hotline OnCall that Perry had the right idea. Wamp argued that mandates forced on the states by the Obama administration's health care bill have put secession on the table.
"I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government," Wamp told Hotline OnCall Friday.