The race for Tennessee's Senate seat getting national attention

May 8, 2018

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE)  --  The national media are buzzing about the possibility that a Democrat could win a Senate seat in strongly Republican Tennessee.

U.S. Congressional Rep. Marsha Blackburn as seen in a recent ad for her campaign to win Tennessee's junior Senate seat.
Credit Marsha Blackburn

U.S. Congressional Rep. Marsha Blackburn is campaigning for the seat Senator Bob Corker is giving up this fall. Her likely rival in that race is Tennessee’s last Democratic governor, Phil Bredesen.

In state polls released in April, Blackburn trailed Bredesen among likely registered voters, and the two have raised roughly equal amounts of campaign cash.

News outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today and NPR really began to buzz when Senator Corker gave a recent interview praising moderate Bredesen, while giving conservative Blackburn an endorsement that could only be called lukewarm at best.

Mid-state political commentator Kent Syler wasn’t surprised.

“Center Right and Center Left politicians like Bob Corker and Phil Bredesen, you know, may find they have more in common with each other than people who are on the far left or far right.”

NPR Political Reporter and Tennessee native Jessica Taylor says Republican strategists are telling her there is an outside chance Tennessee could send a Democrat to the Senate in November.

Taylor notes Tennessee does have a history of electing moderates to top political posts.

“Trump carried the state very easily, but statewide in their lawmakers they do have more of a tradition of electing sort of those pragmatists like Corker, like Lamar Alexander, Bill Haslam.”

Fellow Congressional Rep. Diane Black recently slammed Corker for hindering Blackburn’s campaign, telling Politico that Corker should “sit back and be quiet.”