Tennessee holds its Democratic and Republican primaries on March 1, 2016. 75 delegates are at stake for the Democrats and 58 delegates for the Republicans. The Volunteer State has voted predominantly Republican in general elections since the 1950’s. Bill Clinton was an exception. He won the state in 1992 and again in 1996.
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Why The State Is Significant:
• Tennessee awards the third-most amount of GOP delegates, following Texas and Georgia, which explains the GOP candidates' aggressive campaigning there. For example, on the Friday before Super Tuesday, three of the five Republican presidential nomination candidates all headed there.
• Evangelical Christians -- not establishment Republicans -- tend to dictate the GOP winner. The state's last two Republican winners were U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum in 2012, and Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2008. Both benefited from strong support of evangelicals.
• The state's electorate are an eager bunch, smashing the record for early voting with 383,259 people casting ballots -- a 16 percent increase over those who voted early in 2008, the last time both parties held contested primaries, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State. This year, Republican primary voters outnumbered Democrats by a 2-to-1 margin, with 254,659 early GOP voters compared with 128,343 voters for the Democrats.
• Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam has endorsed Marc Rubio, as has fellow Tennessean, former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who backed Jeb Bush. But a Haslam endorsement doesn't mean a win: Four years ago he endorsed Mitt Romney, who finished second in the Tennessee primary. Plus, a series of polls in the state show Rubio lagging behind Trump and Cruz.