Mackler withdraws from U.S. Senate race, sets up PAC

Nashville attorney and Army veteran James Mackler, who launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination to the U.S. Senate eight months ago, announced Tuesday he is withdrawing from the race. Instead, he’s setting up a political action committee.

The move leaves former Nashville Mayor Phil Bredesen unopposed for the Democratic nod while a spirited primary is developing on the Republican side with U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher as the chief protagonists.

“This is a moment for unity and we cannot risk dividing those seeking change in Washington because there is no time to waste,” he said in a prepared statement.

Mackler had begun campaigning long before Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker announced he was retiring in 2018 and had raised more than $500,000  for his effort. Bredesen announced as a candidate last week.

Here’s Mackler’s statement on his move as emailed to media:

I believe in service.

I joined the Army after 9/11 because I needed to do more, and eight months ago I was again compelled to step forward and run for U.S. Senate because politics as usual in Washington is hurting Tennesseans.

Today, Washington prioritizes serving special interest donors over service to our nation. While a $1.5 trillion giveaway written behind closed doors with no input from the American people is one step closer to reality, the House votes to end AmeriCorps and introduces another bill targeting public service student loan forgiveness. As someone who paid off my student loans with combat pay from Iraq, I cannot stand by while national service is under attack.

This is a moment for unity and we cannot risk dividing those seeking change in Washington because there is no time to waste.

While I am stepping back from this U.S. Senate race, I will continue holding anti-service extremists like Marsha Blackburn accountable through a political action committee called “Believe in Service.”

Using the platform Tennesseans helped me build, “Believe in Service” will support federal candidates who will protect and expand our national service programs that provide so many opportunities for service here and abroad.

It has been an honor to have been a candidate during this critical time in our democracy and I am humbled to have earned the support of so many across Tennessee.

Note: The website for Mackler’s new PAC is HERE. Says the mission statement:

Public service is under attack.

The benefits of service are well known. Service builds character, allows young people to meet and work with diverse groups of people, gives us all a stake in our communities, and can help pay for higher education.

And yet, programs like AmeriCorps and the public service loan forgiveness program are endangered by anti-service politicians who value special interests over opportunities for service here and abroad.

Our mission is to help elect candidates who will protect and expand our critical national service programs.

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