Republican Steve McManus of Memphis loses Statehouse seat

Tennessee state Sen. Steve Dickerson gets a high five from Rebecca Lofty after his win in the 2016 election at his campaign headquarters Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. (George Walker IV/The Tennessean via AP)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republican state Rep. Steve McManus of Memphis has lost his seat to Dwayne Thompson, a rare Democratic victory in an election that keeps the GOP firmly in charge of Tennessee's legislature, with a 74-25 advantage in the House.

McManus, who served as chairman of the House Insurance and Banking Committee, lost by 373 votes. Thompson, a human resources administrator, is a member of the state Democratic Party's executive committee.

Delays in vote counting in Shelby County caused the House District 96 race not to be called until well after midnight on Wednesday. While Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton lost to Republican Donald Trump by 25 percentage points around the state, she carried Shelby County by 28 points.

Republicans earlier in the night had won two seats previously held by Democrats, but McManus' defeat cut the overall gain in the House back to one.

Republican Paul Sherrell defeated incumbent Democratic Rep. Kevin Dunlap by 7 percentage points in rural House District 43, covering all or parts of White, Grundy and Warren counties. And Republican Michael Curcio easily defeated Democrat Dustin Evans to win the District 69 seat vacated by the retirement of Democratic Rep. David Shepard of Dickson.

Two Nashville Republicans, House Speaker Beth Harwell and state Sen. Steve Dickerson, turned back spirited Democratic challenges despite Clinton carrying the county by 26 percentage points. The makeup of the Senate remained unchanged at 28 Republicans and five Democrats.

On election night, Allan Creasy, a bartender and server at an Irish-themed bar in Memphis, held a Dwayne Thompson sign outside the Bert Ferguson Community Center in the Memphis suburb of Cordova.

Creasy said he liked that Thompson supported Republican Gov. Bill Haslam's Insure Tennessee proposal to extend health care coverage to at least 280,000 low income people in the state.

"The opponent, Steve McManus, has fought it tooth and nail," Creasy said.

The Republican-controlled Legislature defeated Insure Tennessee, calling it too closely linked with President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

Creasy said he also voted for Thompson because of his stance against title and payday lending services, which Creasy calls predatory lenders.

"Those businesses take advantage of people by charging up to 700 percent in interest. Not only does it really hurt that one person, but it really negatively hurts the community," Creasy said. "His opponent is a big proponent of those businesses."


Associated Press writer Adrian Sainz contributed to this report from Memphis.