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Tennessee: Battle for the Statehouse

Incumbent: Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) is term-limited

Democrat: Businessman Mike McWherter

Republican: Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam

2008 Presidential Result: Obama 42%; McCain 57%

55+ Population (2009 estimate): 25.3%

Overview: Mike McWherter has claimed "outsider" status, even though his father, Ned Ray, was Tennessee governor from 1987 to 1995. He's also tried to place Bill Haslam in the "GOP fringe" and to link his family's oil business to Iran. However, Haslam has successfully fought back, saying McWherter is getting desperate with the ads charging his ties to the Middle East, and saying that McWherter should focus more on what each of them would do for the state. Haslam has maintained a substantial lead in polls.

50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.

Fun Fact: Basil Marceaux, who lost out in the Republican primary to Haslam, is running as an independent. His candidacy probably won't make much difference in the election (he only got 3,514 votes in the primary), but he's milking it for all it's worth. His unorthodox views — outlawing police traffic stops and prohibiting gold fringe on American flags — landed him appearances on shows such as The Colbert Report.

'Wild Card' Issue: Disclosure of tax returns. McWherter, who has substantial assets, has called for all candidates to disclose their tax returns. Haslam disagrees and will not reveal his returns. He says he's "open" to exploring new campaign ethics laws.

Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future

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