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Tennessee and Georgia candidates from governor down to the state legislature on Monday made their final push for votes in advance of today's midterm general election.

In the Volunteer State, Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Haslam and Democrat Mike McWherter criss-crossed the state by plane from morning until dusk.

Speaking at a midday rally at the Big River Grille in Chattanooga, Knoxville Mayor Haslam urged supporters to turn out and sounded a confident note.

"People have been asking me if I plan on taking a vacation after all of this, and the answer is no," said Haslam, who has spent at least $16 million so far in a contest that included a fiercely fought GOP primary in August. "We already have plans the next morning after the election if we win to get to work to hire a great team of people to help us work on the great big challenges we have ahead of us as a state."

Later in the day, McWherter, a Jackson beer distributor and son of former Gov. Ned McWherter, told reporters during a Nashville stop that the "momentum has been shifting in our direction. I really feel good about the race. I think it's going to be close."

McWherter, who has spent at least $2.8 million, dismissed polls, including a survey earlier this month by the independent firm Rasmussen Reports, that showed Haslam leading by 59 percent to 31 percent.

"They tend to just poll Republicans until they get the results they want," he said.

During the campaign, both men have focused on job creation and the need to curb Tennessee government spending in light of recession-battered revenues.

Tennessee voters are also looking at what observers says is one of the nation's "nastiest" congressional contests in the state's 4th Congressional District. In that contest, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., and Republican Scott DesJarlais, of South Pittsburg, are duking it out.

There is also a spirited battle for control of the Tennessee state House. But in Hamilton County, the only contested race is in House District 28 where Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga, faces Republican Teresa Wood.

In Georgia on Monday, gubernatorial candidates Republican Nathan Deal and Democrat Roy Barnes barnstormed across the state by planes.

"I am someone who represents the average Georgians, somebody who understands the trials and tribulations that Georgians face. I am somebody that's a public servant and I have a public servant's heart," Deal was quoted saying during a Tifton, Ga., campaign stop by South Georgia television station WCTV.

Meanwhile, WFXL-TV in Albany quoted Barnes saying in his last-minute pitch to voters that "there's an old country song that's got a verse in it that says I need ya, I want ya, and I gotta have ya."

An Oct. 26-28 poll conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research on behalf of the Times Free Press and the Georgia Newspaper Partnership showed Deal leading Barnes by 47 to 40 percent with Libertarian John Monds getting 6 percent support.

Georgia requires a runoff election if no candidate wins by a majority.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550.

Contact staff writer Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.

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