By Mike Steely
The one bright blue spot in Tuesday’s election was the victory of Gloria Johnson who won the 13th District Tennessee House race over incumbent Republican Eddie Smith. Johnson won with about 55% of the vote in a state and congressional district that heavily favored Republicans.
The third time proved to be the charm for Johnson as a larger turnout, especially in early voting, saw the organization and effort by Johnson prove victorious. She held the seat six years ago when Democrat Harry Tindell declined to run for re-election and then lost twice to Smith. Tindell’s late endorsement of Smith didn’t sway voters, who gave her 11,489 votes over Smith’s 9,039. That’s a 2,450 difference between Johnson and Smith. The Independent Libertarian candidate in the race, Zachary Houk, pulled only 393 votes or 1.88 percent.
State Representative and Democrat Rick Staples ran unopposed in the 15th District and also picked up a win.
Although Staples and Johnson were the only Democrats elected on the Knox County ballot, several of the Democrats did better than expected against their Republican opponents.