George W. Bush won Tennessee's electoral votes and Republicans gained control of the state Senate for the first time since Reconstruction in Tuesday's election, Corey Johns, head of Knoxville's Bush/Cheney Campaign, said.
Bush won Tennessee with 56 percent of the votes. Presidential results could not be determined by 12:30 a.m. at press time.
"I think the presidential race will be determined by people from places we don't know," Johns said.
University of Tennessee alumnus and former state representative Jamie Hagood won the 6th District Senate seat by 73 percent over Cindy McGill to become one of two GOP senators from Knoxville, Knoxville Election Commission figures showed.
"Seventy-five percent is humbling," Hagood said.
While Hagood's win advanced the Republican cause, two tight races in Middle Tennessee tipped the Senate's balance. Incumbents Larry Trail and JoAnn Graves each lost to Republican candidates, giving the Republicans a majority in the legislative branch, Johns said.
"I think it is an important opportunity for us in Tennessee," Hagood said.
Democrats recognized the Republican gain, but feel it will not change the look of the state Senate, Harry Tindell, House District 13 winner, said. John Wilder, D-District 26, should maintain the control of the Senate, Tindell said.
State Representative seats in Knoxville split with five Republican and two Democratic victories. Tindell and Joe Armstrong will represent Democrats, while Parkey Strader, Bill Dunn, Frank Nicely, Stacey Campfield and Harry Brooks will hold Republican seats.
"I have to believe that all members of the General Assembly want to do things to help Tennessee," Tindell said.
John J. Duncan, R-Tenn., won his race by 78.52 percent over Democrat John Greene.
Knox County's wheel tax referendum passed by 52.37 percent, which will keep the current tax in place.
More than 300 Republicans staffed the campaign headquarters, poll watch positions and polling stations throughout Election Day, Johns estimated.
Democrats mounted a 200 to 300 person effort for similar positions, Margie Cuthbertson, volunteer Kerry/Edwards campaign office manager, said.
"The energy level here in East Tennessee has been unprecedented," Cuthbertson said.
Both campaign directors noted the increased voter numbers.
"They've said this is the biggest turnout they've ever seen," Johns said.