It's almost safe to turn your television back on. The final weekend of the 2006 political season is here, and all the candidates have hit the road in an attempt to gather up what remains of undecided voters.
Davidson County voters have turned out in strength for mid-term elections, as 87,000 people have voted early. That's about 32 percent above average and an early vote record for a non-presidential election, according to Davidson County Election Commission director Ray Barrett.
Election commissioner Lynn Greer told NashvillePost.com this morning that he had seen no problems during the early vote period. He asked that voters who are planning to vote on Tuesday do so early. "We will have 172 precincts open," Greer stated, "and while people have been trending towards taking full advantage of early voting, I expect a strong turnout on Election Day."
U.S. Senate candidates have hit the highway in one of the most closely watched races in the country, one that may determine which political party controls the U.S. Senate.
While national political polls have argued that Corker has a comfortable lead going into the final weekend, they have been all over the board in what the margin is, and the vibe of political operatives on the ground is one of ambivilance. As previously reported by both the Washington Post and your NashvillePost.com, polling is part science, part art, and very difficult.
Corker started his campaign weekend at the Donut Den on Hillsboro Road this morning. On hand were former Republican state party chair State Rep. Beth Halteman Harwell, State Senate candiate Bob Krumm, and supporters gathered up by his campaign and the National Federation of Independent Business.
On the other side of town, Ford kicked off his final push at the state Democratic Party Headquarters with Congressmen Jim Cooper and Lincoln Davis, state Democratic Party chairman Bob Tuke, and Ford's own batch of party faithful.
Bredesen and Bryson will be criss-crossing the state these next few days as well. While Bredesen will be making what would be considered a normal push at the end of the campaign, Bryson has launched his own "March to the Sea" and is pulling a page out of the old Van Hilleary playbook with an "80-hour, non-stop campaign blitz."
One interesting note is that we have entered what political operatives refer to as the "blackout." The blackout is the period before an election where voter fatigue is high and dropping political bombshells is almost pointless. Unless a particularly egregious error is made and can be effectively exploited, there is not enough time between now and when the polls open to fully capitalize on the "mistake" to the point where it enters the average voters' psyches.