Chris Devaney, the chairman of the Republican Party of Tennessee, told ABC News the electorate in Tennessee is looking for a candidate that believes "we can't tax and spend our way to prosperity, is not an apologist, can tackle some of the big ideas without continuing to grow our bureaucracy and will stand up for a more traditional type of values."
"Whoever wins this is going to win something for their campaign because it's different from other southern states," said Devaney. "It's in the South, but it also has a broad diverse group of Republicans – moderates, conservatives, and Tea Party activists."
Devaney also argued that voters in the state tend to elect "statesman-like leaders within the Republican party that have a national presence," and pointed to Sen. Lamar Alexander, who submitted an early voting ballot for Romney last weekend, and former Sen. Fred Thompson, who is backing Gingrich, as examples, along with figures dating back in history such as Andrew Jackson and Sam Houston.
But while a large portion of the state trends towards the conservative side, Greer noted voters in the state have a history of electing moderate leaders – such as Alexander, Gov. Bill Haslam, and Sen. Bob Corker.
Delegates are awarded on a proportional basis in Tennessee with each of the nine congressional districts doling out three delegates based on the percentage of the vote among candidates who meet a 20 percent threshold. The remaining delegates are awarded on a proportional basis relying on the overall statewide results among candidates who meet the 20 percent threshold.
In 2008, Romney acquired eight delegates in the state when he placed third with 23.6 percent of the votes behind first-place finisher Gov. Mike Huckabee, whose home state borders Tennessee, and Sen. John McCain. Romney won counties in and around Nashville in 2008, a city which Greer described to range from moderate to liberal but whose outlying counties align to the business conservative side.
The eastern portion of the state also trends along business conservative ties, which could boost Romney, while rural areas and the western part of the state is populated by more conservative evangelical types who would tend to side with Santorum.
Romney has relied extensively on early voting throughout the primary process, but in Tennessee, early voting figures are down 10 percent statewide compared with the 2008 primary. Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett attributed this decline to the lack of a competitive Democratic primary. Despite the drop-off in early voting, Hargett said he still expects a strong turnout among Tennessee voters on Tuesday in what he billed to be a "highly competitive primary."
"I believe Tennessee is a competitive state," Hargett told ABC News. "We know that the people voting in these primaries are often waiting until election day to vote, and we anticipate a heavy turnout on Tuesday."
Tennessee allows for members of any party to vote in either primary, but Hargett and Devaney did not anticipate any movements for Democrats to cross-over into the Republican primary this year, as was the case in Michigan Tuesday night.