Battle Lines: Do Republican presidential primaries echo Civil War divisions? The state went red in November 2008, but the Republican primary eight months earlier revealed some historically persistent schisms. John McCain, a more traditional Republican—fiscally conservative, pro-defense, but moderate on social issues—carried much of the old 19th-century Republican core of East Tennessee. He was not as popular in newly Republican parts of the state, the formerly Democratic sections which favored the more charismatic social-conservative Mike Huckabee. That year, Mitt Romney won counties only in metropolitan Nashville.