U.S. Senate campaign

Blackburn-Bredesen race dividing families?

The U.S. Senate race between Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen is dividing families in the Knoxville area, says Victor Ashe in his latest column.

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Once upon a time, Marsha Blackburn was advised that running for public office would be waste of time and money

A detailed Yahoo News profile piece bears the headline, ‘Don’t call Marsha Blackburn a feminist, even if she is one.” It’s a good read and generally flattering – enough so that her U.S. Senate campaign emailed supporters and media a big excerpt from the lengthy biographical background portion, dating back to her winning a Mississippi chicken-cooking contest at age 10 and before.

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Politico: List of competitive U.S. Senate seats shrinking, with TN still on the list

The U.S. Senate battleground map has shrunk dramatically in recent weeks, reports Politico, and that’s a net plus for Democrats but not enough to change their status as heavy underdogs to win the chamber in November.

Democratic incumbents look increasingly safe in four Rust Belt states President Trump carried in 2016 — Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, where Republicans are locked in a bitter primary until August. Both parties agree a core universe of states are truly in play: Republicans are targeting Democratic incumbents in Missouri, Indiana, Florida and North Dakota, while Democrats are contesting GOP-held seats in Nevada, Arizona and Tennessee. There is disagreement on how competitive West Virginia and Montana are.

One big clue on which states are truly in play came this week when the Democratic Senate Majority PAC placed fall ad reservations in Florida, West Virginia, Montana, Missouri, Indiana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Nevada and Arizona. For now, the group decided Brown, Casey, Stabenow and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) don’t need extra help.

Steven Law, who runs the McConnell-aligned Senate Leadership Fund, said that Democrats’ “target list is a lot like ours.”

“There were a few states they left off that we think could be competitive,” said Law, whose group has not yet placed its reservations. “But right now, we think the field of battle is already probably about 80 percent defined, and I think both sides see the battle lines as they are.

(Note: The Democrats’ Senate Majority PAC said its ad buy totals $80 million in the nine targeted states, but did not give a state-by-state breakdown. Press release HERE.)

… In Tennessee, Democrats are upbeat about former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who won every county in the state when he last ran in 2006 and remains popular. Republicans argue Bredesen will go the way of other Democratic retreads, like Ted Strickland and Evan Bayh in 2016, both of whom lost by sizable margins. Trump visited Tennessee late last month to boost Rep. Marsha Blackburn and attack Bredesen, though Republicans acknowledge they will need a more sustained effort to drag down Bredesen’s favorability.

Bredesen berated at TNGOP fundraiser that brought in $760K

In Friday night speeches to the Tennessee Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner, U.S. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Marsha Blackburn criticized former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and praised President Donald Trump. The state GOP collected more than $750,000 at the fundraising event. Continue reading

NRSC echoes Trump’s Bredesen bashing in online video

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen is declared “another obstructionist Washington Democrat” in a National Republican Senatorial Committee online video that uses clips of President Trump criticizing the former Tennessee governor during a campaign rally for Republican Marsha Blackburn in Nashville last week. Blackburn’s campaign posted the same clips as online video shortly after the rally. The NRSC video is entitled “Whatever His Name Is” — a label Trump applied to Bredesen at one point during his remarks.

Corker working to block Trump tariffs with Bredesen’s blessing; Blackburn ‘still trying to work through this’

U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he and others are “crafting” legislation requiring congressional authority over levying tariffs in response to President Donald Trump’s imposition of stiff steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico and the European Union, according to the Times Free Press. Phil Bredesen, the Democrat running to replace him, has embraced the idea. Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn has not, though she’s concerned about the tariffs and “still trying to work through this.”

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PolitiFact rates TNGOP Bredesen-bashing press release as ‘half true’

PolitiFact has deemed “half true” a Tennessee Republican Party press release denouncing Democrat Phil Bredesen TV ad that boasts of his record in recruiting economic development while governor, including creation of 200,000 new jobs. It’s a bit of an oddity in that the ad itself is not given a truth rating, as PolitiFact often does on political advertising claims.

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Trump bashes Bredesen, embraces Blackburn at Nashville rally

In a Nashville rally Tuesday, President Donald Trump declared former Gov. Phil Bredesen “an absolute total tool” of Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and urged Tennessee Republican voters not to become complacent in backing Republican Marsha Blackburn for the U.S. Senate.

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Corker comment featured in Senate ad – for North Dakota Democrat

Retiring Sen. Bob Corker has caused a lot of heartburn for Marsha Blackburn’s Senate campaign for his lukewarm endorsement of her bid to succeed him and for his refusal to saying he won’t campaign against his old friend Phil Bredesen in the race. Now some other Corker comments are appearing in another Democrat’s campaign ads in North Dakota.

The ad for Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) cites statements made about her by Republican colleagues, highlighted by one made by Corker in 2013 that she was “stronger than battery acid.”

“When it comes to fighting for North Dakota, I take battery acid as a compliment,” Heitkamp says in the ad.

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Some media reports preceding Trump’s campaign trip to Nashville to help ‘thrilled’ Blackburn

President Donald Trump’s Tuesday evening trip to Nashville for a Marsh Blackburn fundraiser has been preceded by more national media reporting on Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race, including a Washington Post report suggesting women voters could tilt the race in Democrat Phil Bredesen’s favor.

The article begins with a question posed to Blackburn during a campaign event at the Cumberland County town of Fairfield Glade.

 “How as a woman can you support Donald Trump?” asked Marcia Storrison, a Democratic retiree in this heavily Republican area of hilly green golf courses. “His lies! I believe in facts. . . . I don’t understand how a woman can be supportive of what is going on.”

“Trump is working very hard for us,” replied the Republican congresswoman, touting his record on jobs and the economy.

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