James K. Polk

Political Offices

Whom did Polk defeat for governor of Tennessee?

Polk defeated two-time incumbent Newton Cannon for governor by a very narrow margin in 1839. Polk won by just more than two thousand votes in an election in which there were more than one hundred thousand votes cast. He lost in his reelection bid in 1841 to Tennessee legislator James C. “Lean Jimmy” Jones, who was an effective stump speaker on the campaign trail. In 1843, Polk once again tried to regain the governor’s seat, but lost to Jones again—this time by approximately 3,200 votes.


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