NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – About half of the people who voted on the first day of early voting in Tennessee went to the polls this year compared to the last midterm election, according to data from the Secretary of State’s Office.
Those numbers, combined with lower voter registrations in the months leading up to the 2022 election, could be a sign of low potential overall voter turnout on November 8; however, Republicans and Democrats say they will ramp up their efforts to energize voters in the final 20 days of the campaign.
“I will tell you when I talk to several of our friends, and they say, ‘Is early voting starting?’ Yes! we have sent out emails, made phone calls, and sent out social media posts,” said Tennessee GOP Party Chair Scott Golden.
Golden said after three high-profile senate, gubernatorial, and presidential election cycles and a competitive primary election in August, there is some fatigue among voters leading up to the general election. But they are working on getting more ads on TV, making more calls, sending more texts and knocking on my doors in the coming days.
Democrats also say they are focusing on their ground game ahead of Election Day. According to voter registration data, there was not a large spike in voter registrations in Tennessee after the overturning of Roe v. Wade like there was in other states.
Tennessee Democrat Party Chair Hendell Remus said they are letting individual campaigns take the lead on voter turnout but also supporting them by putting up more digital ads in the next couple of weeks.
“We have an opportunity to show that Democrats are really still relevant in this state. We have an opportunity to chip away at the Republican supermajority,” Remus said. “We know there is a whole lot of apathy in this state, especially under Republican control.”
While members of both parties are trying to frame the other as extreme and out of touch with Tennesseeans, they both say that economic policy will be a focus of their final message to voters.
“Who is going to be the better stewards of our economy? Who is going to make sure that folks on payday are walking home with more money in their pockets not less?” Remus said.
Golden said inflation and the Biden administration’s economic decisions are top of mind for voters.
“I think people are genuinely concerned about the economy. That’s what we see in poll numbers. That’s what we see when we knock on doors,” Golden said.
Events with high-profile guests have already come into play as a way to attract voter attention over the next 20 days.
On Thursday, the Republican nominee for Congress Andy Ogles did a virtual townhall with former President Donald Trump where Trump showed his support for Ogles and attacked his opponent.
His opponent, state Democrat Sen. Heidi Campbell, has a video online attacking Ogles’ views on abortion and responded to the attacks from the former President.
Musicians Lucinda Williams and Devon Gilfillian have also joined Campbell for an event.
All in an effort to defeat both party’s opponents: voter apathy.