Blackburn, Bredesen easily win Tennessee Senate primaries
Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen easily won their respective party primaries on Thursday to become the nominees vying for Tennessee’s open Senate seat.
The two candidates will now battle in November’s general election to replace Sen. Bob Corker (R), who announced his retirement last year.
Blackburn, who has served in the House since 2003, won President Trump’s endorsement during her primary and defeated trucker Aaron Pettigrew. Bredesen meanwhile defeated two challengers, Gary Davis and John Wolfe, who faced an uphill battle against the former governor’s name recognition.
Blackburn has a close relationship with the Trump administration after serving on the president’s White House transition team last year, a connection which she played to her advantage in the GOP primary.
Trump tweeted in April that 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!”
Corker, who has been a frequent critic of the president, has stated that he won’t campaign against Bredesen and has offered only a lukewarm endorsement for Blackburn.
A poll of the race in April showed Bredesen with a small lead over Blackburn, despite Republican Corker’s wide reelection victory in 2012 with 64 percent of the vote.
Trump won Tennessee easily in 2016 by 26 points.
Democrats are hoping to pick up a net gain of two seats in the Senate during November’s midterms in their bid to retake control of the upper chamber.
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