Billy "Ironman" Collier fills out his ballot on May 1 during primary elections in the gym at East Ridge City Hall.

Voting gets underway Thursday in Tennessee for the county general election and state and federal primary contests. Big this year are the races to fill the state's top leadership position and a Senate seat in Washington, D.C. Other contests for the state House also have gained regional and national attention.

Here's what you need to know before hitting the polls.


» Tennessee governor: Leading Republican candidates to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. Bill Haslam are U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin, Knoxville entrepreneur and former state economic commissioner Randy Boyd, state House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville, and Williamson County businessman Bill Lee. On the Democratic side are former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley.

» U.S. Senate: Republican Marsha Blackburn, a Brentwood congresswoman, and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, are running for their respective party nominations to replace Sen. Bob Corker, of Chattanooga, who is not seeking re-election.

» State House Districts 28 and 30: The retirements of state Reps. JoAnne Favors, D-Chattanooga, and Marc Gravitt, R-East Ridge, have set up primary battles in their districts.

Rep. JoAnne Favors' departure in District 28 has resulted in a five-candidate Democratic primary in Chattanooga with Dennis Clark, Yusuf Hakeem, Melody Shekari, Jackie Thomas and Brandon Woodruff running. The primary winner will face Republican Lemon Williams Jr. in November.

Gravitt's District 30 seat is generating a spirited GOP primary between Esther Helton of East Ridge and Jonathan Mason of Chattanooga. The winner will face Democrat Joda Thongnopnua of East Ridge in November.

Need a refresher on other races before you hit the polls? Visit for candidate profiles and sample ballots.


Pack an umbrella. The forecast is calling for rain, and lots of it. There's an 80 percent chance of rain throughout the day with thunderstorms possible, according to WRCB-TV Channel 3.

For the latest weather information, visit


Polls open at 8 a.m. EST and close at 8 p.m. EST.

All voters must present a federal or Tennessee state ID with the voter's name and photograph when voting at the polls.

Not sure where to vote? Visit for polling locations.

What IDs are acceptable?

» Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

» Tennessee driver license with your photo

» United States passport

» Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security

» Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government

» United States military photo ID

» Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo

What IDs are not acceptable?

College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are not acceptable. This includes county- or city-issued photo IDs, such as library cards, and photo IDs issued by other states.

Need more information?

Contact the Hamilton County Election Commission:

» By phone: 423-493-5100

» By fax: 423-493-5101

» By email:


Get the latest results and updates throughout the night on the races you care about at