In the battle for who hates Islam more it seems the slightly less Islamophobic Diane Black has beaten the fanatical Lou Ann Zelenik:
U.S. Rep. Diane Black defeated rival Lou Ann Zelenik to win the Republican nomination for the 6th Congressional District in a race that could serve as a bellwether for the relationship between mainstream conservatives and tea party activists across Tennessee and the nation.
Black led Zelenik by a 2-to-1 margin with most precincts reported after a nasty campaign that one national commentator called “the craziest GOP House race of the year.”
“I am so honored to once again say thank you to the voters for giving me the confidence, giving me their confidence, to say I want to send you back to Washington to work for our Tennessee values,” Black told supporters in Hendersonville.
Zelenik conceded the race from her election night rally in Mt. Juliet shortly after 8:30 p.m.
The race was a rematch between two candidates who had fought it out for the Republican nomination two years ago, only for Black to prevail by fewer than 300 votes
Black pulled out to a sizable lead, even before results were reported from her stronghold of Sumner County, which she represented in the state legislature for 12 years until her election in 2010.
Zelenik started the race with a clear handicap. Redistricting removed fast-growing Rutherford County, where Zelenik had once served as party chair, from the 6th District. Those voters were replaced by a handful of rural counties, mainly on the Cumberland Plateau.
The race drew national attention as the depth of the animosity between Zelenik and Black became apparent. A frequent ad by the Black campaign described Zelenik, who has never held public office, as a “career politician” who had moved into the 6th District for the sole purpose of running against Black. The spot featured a moving van with Zelenik’s picture on the side.
Conservative activist Andy Miller led a $200,000 independent expenditure campaign on Zelenik’s behalf that included television spots, radio ads and push polling. Zelenik’s campaign, meanwhile, also said Black had been soft during her term on government spending and repeal of the federal health-care reform law.
Zelenik said repeatedly that Black had voted to fund “Obamacare,” a claim that the fact-checking organization PolitiFact labeled as false.
The bad blood between the two started during the 2010 Republican primary. That race ended in litigation over ads Zelenik’s side aired that accused Black of steering state government contracts to her husband’s drug testing firm, Aegis Sciences.
After that election, Zelenik continued to lay groundwork for another run. With Miller and others, Zelenik co-founded the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, a group dedicated to publicizing what they see as the impending threat of Islamic law.