Trump backs Blackburn's Tennessee Senate bid

Trump backs Blackburn's Tennessee Senate bid
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpCoast Guard chief: 'Unacceptable' that service members must rely on food pantries, donations amid shutdown Dem lawmaker apologizes after saying it's never been legal in US to force people to work for free Grassley to hold drug pricing hearing MORE backed Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnBarr hearing marks first time Senate Judiciary has GOP women serving on panel Live coverage: Trump AG pick grilled on Mueller probe at confirmation hearing Overnight Defense: Appeals court sides with Trump on transgender military ban | Trump threatens years-long shutdown | Trump floats declaring national emergency to build wall with military MORE (R-Tenn.) on Thursday in her bid to replace retiring Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerSen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy The Memo: Romney moves stir worries in Trump World Senate GOP names first female members to Judiciary panel MORE (R). 

The endorsement isn't surprising — Blackburn faces no serious challenge in the GOP primary, where she's run as an unapologetic conservative and Trump supporter. But the endorsement still gives Blackburn a boost in her bid against former Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), who is shaping up to be a tough contender for the seat. 
 
Blackburn "is a wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her. Great on the Military, Border Security and Crime. Loves and works hard for the people of Tennessee. She has my full endorsement and I will be there to campaign with her!" Trump tweeted Thursday.  

Trump's move comes months after Vice President Pence's political action committee donated to Blackburn's Senate bid last year. 

In her early months as a candidate, Blackburn has highlighted shared views with Trump on issues like immigration and the debate over athletes kneeling in protest during the national anthem. 
 
Blackburn initially faced a primary challenge from Rep. Stephen FincherStephen Lee FincherLamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Tensions on immigration erupt in the House GOP Trump backs Blackburn's Tennessee Senate bid MORE, but Fincher ended his bid earlier this year and called on Corker to reverse his decision and run again.
 
That call came as some Republicans fretted behind the scenes about whether Blackburn could win. But Blackburn and her allies furiously pushed back against the doubters, and Corker ultimately announced that he wouldn't reverse-course and enter the race
 
Blackburn raised $2 million in the first fundraising quarter of 2018, giving her $6 million in cash on hand. Bredesen raised $3.2 million over that same period — but $1.4 million of that total came from a personal loan — and his campaign hasn't yet released its total cash on hand. 
 
The latest public poll in the race, from Middle Tennessee State University, found Bredesen up 10 points — a surprisingly strong figure for Democrats. Bredesen's supporters hope that his deep pockets, well-considered tenure in office and strong name identification will put the seat in play for the party. 
 
But Republicans aren't sounding the alarms just yet, noting that, while Blackburn still needs to introduce herself to voters in the state, she has more than enough time and resources to get that done.