U.S. Representative Bob Clement, D-Tenn., is one step closer to the U.S. Senate after soundly defeating opponents in the Democratic primary Thursday night.
He defeated Gary Davis, along with three other Democrats en route to clinching the nomination.
As of print time, he had received 82 percent of the vote, with 89 percent of precincts reporting.
Clement is currently the 5th District congressman and is serving his seventh term in the House of Representatives, a run beginning in 1988. He has held a public office since 1972, when he became the youngest statewide office holder in Tennessee history at only 29.
Clement earned his bachelors degree at UT, and received a masters from the University of Memphis in 1968.
Both of Clement's daughters, Elizabeth and Rachel, attend UT. They too are actively involved in politics; Elizabeth is the SGA president and Rachel is a SGA senator.
He said he would hit the campaign trail almost immediately after his primary victory, spending time visiting various Tennessee towns and cities.
"I'm not taking any time off," Clement said. "We're having a unity convention with other Democratic candidates, including (Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phil) Bredesen."
Clement is basing his campaign on the need for security in all aspects of Americans' lives, he explained.
"Security - it's really on people's minds now (referring to the September terrorist attacks). Security at home, health care, pension and education," Clement said.
Clement included corporate security on the list as well, referring to the recent pitfalls of major corporations like Enron and World Com.
"A major issue is corporate accountability. I want to hold the Bush Administration's feet to the fire. However, I do support the war on terror."
He also wanted to reiterate his support for public education. He cited his work as the co-chairman of the House Education Caucus. Clement said he would continue to try and bring money into Tennessee K-12 schools and to UT.
Clement will face former UT President Lamar Alexander in the general election in November. Unlike Clement, Alexander has already spent a large sum of money in order to get past the hotly contested Republican primary.
Alexander has currently raised and spent more money for the Senate bid, but Clement has more money to spend for the remainder of the election cycle according to a press release from the Tennessee Democratic Party.
"The truth is Bob Clement has more cash on hand going into the general election than (Alexander), which bodes well for the Democrat," TDP Chairman William Farmer said.