Candidate Dawn White speaks with Republican state Rep. Rick Womick on Aug. 2, 2012, at Maple Street Grill in Murfreesboro, Tenn., moments after winning in the 37th House District primary race. (TMP Photo/M. Kemph)
Despite several hard-fought primaries that left some conservatives at stubborn odds, Tennessee Republican Party candidates called on supporters Thursday to set aside their differences for the upcoming November general elections.
"We are all Republicans, and we will come together," said Dawn White, who won the party's primary for the newly created 37th District in the Tennessee House of Representatives, beating out Tea Party favorite Richard Garvin.
The former Murfreesboro City Schools teacher garnered 73.18 percent of the 4,146 votes cast in the race, while Garvin, who is an adjunct professor at Fisk University in Nashville, received 27 percent.
During an interview at 3 Brothers Deli and Brewhouse in downtown Murfreesboro, Garvin reiterated those sentiments, noting a tough primary only strengthens the Rutherford County Republican Party.
"I wish White the best of luck in the general election, and I congratulate her on this victory," Garvin said, adding he will support the newly crowned Republican nominee in defeating Robert "Bob" New, who ran unopposed in the Democratic Party primary.
Even though both candidates lashed out each other's conservative credentials, White said she believes Garvin's supporters, as well as her own, have the same goal: to ensure the Democratic Party does not gain seats in the Tennessee General Assembly.
"I believe Garvin's supporters and mine have the same goal of making sure a common sense conservative is elected to the 37th District seat," she said, "and I really appreciate (his) support."
Although Garvin lost by a wide margin, several in the Republican Party leadership have already begun extending a hand to him – a sign the 27-year-old Murfreesboro native will remain active in Rutherford County politics.
When asked whether Garvin would consider running for state or federal office in the future, he remained coy about his prospects. However, he said this loss by no means constitutes quitting political life altogether.
"I will remain active in politics and look forward to serving the community through the Smyrna Rotary Club, Linebaugh Library Board of Directors, in addition to others," he said.