HR Management & Compliance

What Tennessee Election Results Mean for Employers

By John B. Phillips, Jr.

After the midterm elections, Tennessee’s congressional delegation will be made up of seven Republicans and two Democrats, a net gain of two seats for the GOP. Tuesday’s election continues Tennessee’s move toward a solid-red Republican state. Both U.S. Senators are Republicans, though neither was up for election this year.

In the governor’s race, Republican Bill Haslam won with an overwhelming majority, replacing a two-term Democrat, who was prohibited from running for a third term. It also appears that Tennessee Republicans will make gains in both houses of the Tennessee General Assembly, extending and increasing the Republican control of both state houses.

Tennessee is one of the reddest states in the United States. In fact, Republicans have never done as well as they seem to be doing in this election. Despite being one of the Deep South states solidly Democratic for decades, Tennessee is now overwhelmingly Republican.

From a state perspective, it’s doubtful that these results will make much difference in terms of the Tennessee General Assembly’s legislative developments. From a federal perspective, Tennessee will be made up of a significant Republican majority that most likely will not be favorably disposed to support legislation sponsored by President Barack Obama. Thus, Tennessee will become part of the opposition to any significant labor and employment legislation — unless it is employer-friendly.

John B. Phillips, Jr., is an editor of Tennessee Employment Law Letter and an attorney in the Chattanooga office of Miller & Martin PLLC. You can read his employment law blog at