NASHVILLE -- Republicans were taking early leads Tuesday in their attempt to strengthen their control of the General Assembly.
GOP challengers against Democrat incumbents in both chambers were leading in early election returns.
Republican Gary Steakley was leading in his race against Democrat Sen. Charlotte Burks, of Monterey. With 45 percent of the precincts reporting, Steakley had 14,168 votes, or 45 percent of the vote, to Burks' 12,471, or 39 percent. Joe Wilmoth, an independent, had 5,121, or 16 percent.
Republican state Rep. Stacey Campfield was leading against Democrat Randy Walker for an open Senate seat in Knoxville.
With 67 percent of precincts reporting, Campfield had 13,737 votes, or 57 percent of the vote, to Walker's 8,959, or 37 percent. Chuck Williams, an independent, had 1,523 votes or 6 percent.
Republican Sen. Mae Beavers of Mount Juliet was holding off Democratic challenger George McDonald. With 10 percent of precincts reporting, Beavers had 5,920 or 52 percent of the vote, to McDonald's 5,384, or 48 percent of the vote.
In House races, Republicans were leading in races against Democratic incumbents.
In District 64, Republican Sheila Butt was leading Democratic Rep. Ty Cobb, of Shelbyville. With 71 percent of precincts reporting, Butt had 7,744 votes, or 54 percent of the vote, to Cobb's 6,370, or 44 percent, in Bedford County. Ricky Martin, an independent, had 227 votes, or 2 percent.
With 67 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Julia Hurley had 7,287, or 53 percent of the vote, to Democrat Rep. Dennis Ferguson's 6,462, or 47 percent, in Roane and Loudon counties.
In the District 60 Nashville seat vacated by longtime state Rep. Ben West Jr., Republican Jim Gotto was leading over Democrat Sam Coleman during Tuesday's elections. With 5 percent of precincts reporting, Gotto had 4,486 or 54 percent of the vote, to Coleman's 3,807, or 46 percent.
With 7 percent of precincts reporting, Republican Charles Williamson had 3,589 or 51 percent of the vote, to Democrat Rep. Mike Turner's 3,406, or 49 percent, in Nashville.
In Cocke and parts of Greene County, Republican challenger Jeremy Faison was leading in a close race with Democratic Rep. Eddie Yokely.
With 54 percent of precincts reporting, Faison had 3,584 votes, or 54 percent, to Yokely's 3,109 or 47 percent.