Calling All Democrats

The first hurdle for actress Park Overall in her race for the U.S. Senate will be to get Democrats to vote for her. She needs a good vote in the Democratic primary to give her some credibility in her race against incumbent Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker—and though she is the best known, she also as to win the primary.

But in many counties around the state the only hot races on the ballot will be in the Republican primary. There are state House Republicans who have primary challengers and in most cases the Democratic candidate is unopposed or non-existent. Democrats may want to vote against an incumbent Republican in the primary.

Knox County at least has a slate of Democratic candidates for legislative races, though none have opposition in the primary that might spark a bigger Democratic turnout. But Knox County has a large potential bloc of Democratic votes that Overall and the Democrats running for the Legislature need.

Democrat Gloria Johnson is unopposed in the primary to replace the retiring state Rep. Harry Tindell, but there are two Republicans facing off. Democrat Anthony Hancock is also unopposed in his primary, but neither is Republican state Rep. Steve Hall. Democrat Jerome Miller is facing state Rep. Ryan Haynes in the general. Democrat Evelyn Gill is running against Republican state Sen. Becky Duncan Massey. None of the other local House races have Democrats even running, unless Democrat Shelly Breeding is successful in getting the Supreme Court to rule in her favor about her residency out on the Knox-Anderson county line. But there is a time crunch. The Democrats have until noon Saturday to find another candidate, but it doesn't appear a credible one will appear. Early voting starts 20 days from the deadline.

So how big will the turnout be in the Democratic primary?