Barley's Taproom and Pizzeria in the Old City is a popular restaurant and bar that offers a vibrant social scene on most nights. But on Election Day, it became a gathering place for those wanting to watch the election results come in, including the local chapter of the Green Party of Tennessee.
Among those in attendance were Martin Pleasant, who was running to represent Tennessee in the US Senate, and Calvin Cassady, hoping to represent District 15 in the Tennessee House of Representatives.
"It's been pretty exciting. I met a lot of UT Students and a lot of them are going to vote for me. It was really a positive sign, particularly the ones who researched the race," said Pleasant, dressed in a full suit for the special evening.
Pleasant was running against incumbent Republican Bob Corker, who ultimately won the election, and Democratic nominee Mark Clayton; Clayton, however, was disavowed by the state party shortly after winning the primary.
"Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write in a candidate of their choice in November," read a statement by the Tennessee Democrats.
"There was a progressive choice on the ballot: me. It's been a very positive response," said Pleasant.
For Pleasant, one of the most important aspects of the campaign and for the future of the party is to reach out to a younger demographic.
"Young people need to be engaged at a younger age. We need to bring young people into the process so they can start participating, teaching and educating about our system, and understanding ... how the vote affects them," he said.
Cassady, a graduate student in public administration, was running to represent District 15, which comprises Fort Sanders, Downtown, East and South Knoxville. Cassady ran against incumbent Democrat Joe Armstrong, who has held the seat since 1989.
"The goals for us are to expand the debate," Cassady said. "We want to open up our views to the mainstream, to be on the vanguard of the next wave of political change in this country."
Statewide, the Green Party ticket featured 11 candidates. They were allowed on ballots in May after the State Supreme Court ruled that the Green Party could select candidates by convention, not by primary.
Being a student at UT, Cassady offered a unique perspective on the role of young people in the election and the political future of the United States.
"We're young people, we're going to be on this earth for the next 50, 60 years. If we don't change the way our process and our economy works right now we're really going to face something serious 50 years down the road," he said. "The Green Party is ... making the tough decisions and raising the tough questions."
Pleasant was able to garner two percent of the vote. The winner, Bob Corker, received 65 percent, and the disavowed Mark Clayton still managed to pull in 30 percent of the vote.
Cassady received 18 percent of votes for the District 15 State House race, conceding the race to his opponent, Joe Armstrong. Armstrong maintained his seat with 82 percent of the vote.