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Union University Department of Political Science
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Mayoral Race Looks Interesting
Sean Evans, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

Sep 12, 2014 - It is a rare event when a popular incumbent faces a difficult reelection race. However State Senator Lowe Finney’s recent announcement that he will challenge Jackson Mayor Jerry Gist is one such race. At the outset, Mayor Gist has several built-in advantages. First, Gist is at every local event, is a tireless booster for the city, and well-liked by all who meet him. Second, Gist knows the city and its needs after serving as parks and recreation director and public...read more

Red To Its Roots
Sean Evans, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

Aug 8, 2014 - While most media coverage of yesterday’s elections is focusing on Lamar Alexander’s Senate seat, the more significant races are whether John Mehr is the new the Madison County Sheriff, Ann Strong is Crockett County Mayor, Kyle Atkins is a Circuit Court Judge, and Tennesseans retained the Supreme Court Justices. These races matter because they will tell us whether Tennessee will become a one party state. Last summer, the Tennessee Republican Party declared its intent to make Tennessee “red to its roots&rdq...read more

TN Supreme Court More Liberal Than State
Sean Evans, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

Jul 28, 2014 - One of the main arguments of those wanting Tennesseans to reject the three Supreme Court Justices up for retention votes is that the Tennessee Supreme Court (TNSC) is too liberal for Tennessee. While the arguments they use in their ads do not support this argument, there is strong evidence that that the TNSC is more liberal than the state as a whole. For those who believe in checks and balances, retaining the justices up for retention may be a good ideas as it may moderate our more conservative legislature. However those who believe in accountability may see ...read more

Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me
Sean Evans, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

Jul 24, 2014 - In the show Hee Haw, one of the weekly skits had two people talking about something that was not as they thought it was in a song called “Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me.” After examining the arguments for and against retaining the three Justices of the Tennessee Supreme Court, I feel like singing “Gloom, Despair, and Agony on Me” because the arguments in favor of retention come from a commission with a credibility problem and the arguments for rejecting the Justices are just plain weak.  ...read more

Independent or Accountable Courts?
Sean Evans, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science

Jul 23, 2014 - In an otherwise dull set of statewide races, one of the more interesting races is the retention elections of Chief Justice Gary Wade, Justice Cornelia Clark, and Justice Sharon Lee. Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and many other Republicans believe that the Supreme Court, like the governor and state legislature, should reflect Tennessee’s Republican nature. Since the three justices are Democrats, Ramsey wants to replace them with more conservative and Republican justices. The supporters of the justices decry this attempt as an attack on judicial independence and an affront to constitutional democracy.

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