Republicans notched another fall 2009 special-election victory last night as former Rep. Brian Kelsey became a senator-elect with a victory over Democrat Adrienne Pakis-Gillon.
Shelby County Election Commission results show Kelsey won decisively over Pakis-Gillon in the low-turnout contest, capturing nearly 75 percent of the vote.
Kelsey, a 31-year-old suburban Memphis attorney, campaigned on creating jobs and opposing “wasteful government spending” and “government-run health care.”
During the 2009 legislative session Kelsey introduced a constitutional amendment to prohibit the creation of an income tax in Tennessee. The bill did not pass.
In an effort to “take a stand against government-run health care,” Kelsey has also advocated loosening state health-care insurance regulations, which he says will make private medical coverage more affordable.
The results of the election are scheduled to be certified later this month, after which Kelsey will be officially sworn into office.
Kelsey’s lopsided win did nothing to change the partisan make-up of the Senate, however: Republicans still hold control of the chamber, 19-14.
The District 31 seat Kelsey will now occupy was previously held by Republican Paul Stanley, who resigned amidst revelations that he was the target of a blackmail attempt resulting from an adulterous affair he was having with a 22-year-old legislative intern.
Republicans also control the Tennessee House of Representatives, 49-48. Pat Marsh, a Republican from Shelbyville, beat Democrat Ty Cobb in a House special election back in October.
A special election to fill Kelsey’s vacated District 83 House seat is scheduled for Jan. 12 between Democrat Guthrie Castle , Republican Mark White and independent John D. Andreuccetti.