Fleischmann said he was very, very thankful for the tremendous win over two well-known names.
“I could not be more pleased with the results,” he said. “It is clear the voters in the new district are appreciative of my work ethic and conservative record in my first two years.”
There is no clear winner in the 10th State Senate District where the unofficial results showed Todd Gardenhire winning by 15 votes. He finished with 7,995 votes to Vital’s 7,980.
Gardenhire said he is reminded of the 1965 football game between Alabama and Tennessee up in Neyland Stadium on the rainy, foggy Saturday afternoon with Tennessee ahead 10-8. On the last play of the game, Alabama’s field goal kicker split the uprights for the winning score to make the victory for the Tide an 11-10 score.
“I was sitting in the end zone with my best friend, the late Bob Sullivan, as we both watched the ball take forever to float through the air. You see, Bob was a dyed-in-the-wool Tennessee fan and I was an Alabama fan. We may not know the final outcome of this race until late Monday when ... the provisional ballots are counted. The waiting and watching the process is what is so hard to deal with. It’s like watching that football being snapped, placed down on the ground, the kicker kicking the ball and waiting for the referees to raise their hands.
“No one remembers all the plays that took place in the trenches or passes that were caught or blocks made or plays called from the sidelines by [UT coach] Johnny Majors or [Alabama’s] Bear Bryant; just the final outcome. My opponent ran a very smart race, we both played very hard all the way and our coaches did their jobs. The fans really got into this election just like that day in September many years ago. Now it is in the hands of our referees; we all are watching.
“One of us will have a long ride back home, the other will celebrate; but in the end, when the National Championship game happens we both will be united and cheering for our Conference, the Republican Party’s nominee.”
The Greg Vital for Senate campaign said it is optimistically waiting until Monday when provisional ballots will be counted.
“Tonight has been exciting, and too close to call. With provisional ballots still out it is anybody’s race,” Vital said. “I’m so thankful to my family, friends and supporters. We have run a good race and I’m eager to see what the provisional ballots tell us. Until then, we will wait and look forward to Monday.”
Fleischmann won Bradley, Anderson, Morgan, Roane and Union counties but lost to Weston Wamp in Hamilton County. Mayfield took Campbell, McMinn, Monroe, Polk and Scott counties.
Fleischmann’s narrow victory mimicked his first election in 2010 in which he emerged from a field of 11 Republicans. He carried Anderson and Bradley counties while finishing second in Hamilton County to former Tennessee GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith. In that race, Fleischmann won 30 percent of the vote and won again this time with 39 percent.
The freshman congressman won by a margin of 6,170 with 29,943 votes; Mayfield collected 23,773; Wamp, 21,992; and Ron Bhalla with 923. Fleischmann will meet Democrat Mary Headrick, an acute care physician from Union County, in the Nov. 6, General Election. She defeated Bill Taylor, a Chattanooga businessman by a vote of 14,780 to 7,339.
Taylor congratulated Dr. Headrick and her staff for her win in the Democratic primary and for the opportunity to discuss the important issues of the day throughout this campaign. “We both ran positive campaigns throughout the primary that focused on issues crucial to the 3rd District and the country,” he said. “I will continue to work for election of Democrats in November, and particularly in her race to beat Fleischmann in the 3rd District.”
Wamp, the son of Zach Wamp, who held the seat until he opted to run for governor in 2010, won Hamilton County by a 101-vote margin of 14,305 to 14,204. Mayfield finished a distant third with 7,435 votes.
Fleischmann won Bradley with 1,409 votes; Mayfield, 1,025; Wamp, 932 and Bhalla, 46; Anderson County: Fleischmann, 4,012; Mayfield, 2,248; Wamp, 1,855; Bhalla, 86; Campbell County: Mayfield, 1,633; Fleischmann, 1,320; Wamp, 525; Bhalla, 23; McMinn County: Mayfield, 3,207; Fleischmann, 1,547; Wamp, 802; Bhalla, 25; Monroe County: Mayfield, 2,751; Fleischmann, 1,248; Wamp, 514; Bhalla, 30; Morgan County: Fleischmann, 617; Mayfield, 547; Wamp, 307; Bhalla, 7; Polk County: Mayfield, 604; Fleischmann, 544; Wamp, 512; Bhalla, 15; Roane County: Fleischmann, 3,390; Mayfield, 2,626; Wamp, 1,773; Bhalla, 94; Scott County: Mayfield, 777; Fleischmann, 508; Wamp, 152; Bhalla, 15; Union County: Fleischmann, 1,134; Mayfield, 919; Wamp, 315; and Bhalla, 15.
Wamp said in a prepared statement, “I want to thank the thousands of people who voted for me today. What a rewarding experience it was to campaign for this office. I want to thank the people who supported me with their money and, especially, I want to thank the hundreds of volunteers who worked on my behalf. I wish the best to all of tonight’s winners and will continue to be a voice for my generation as we move forward.”
Fleischmann said Bhalla called to congratulate him and pledge his support in November.
“I appreciate his gentlemanly conduct and his support,” Fleischmann said.
He said Mayfield and Wamp have not called.
In the 10th Senate District race, Vital carried Bradley County by a 2,586 to 1,817 margin. Gardenhire made up the difference with 6,178 votes to Vital’s 5,394.
Whoever is declared the winner when elections are certified Aug. 16, will go up against Democrat Andrae´ McGary, who bested David Testerman and Quenston Coleman. McGary received a total of 4,302 votes; Testerman, 1,705; and Coleman, 946. In Bradley County, it was McGary, 226; Testerman, 183; Coleman, 123; Hamilton County: McGary, 4,076; Testerman, 1,522; Coleman, 823.