Tuesday, 14 August, 2018

Tennessee set for Senate battle; Black loses governor's primary

Signs signs everywhere there's signs at a polling location in Nashville during the early voting period Signs signs everywhere there's signs at a polling location in Nashville during the early voting period. Chas Sisk WPLN
Lisa Bryan | 06 August, 2018, 08:14

Easy primary wins Thursday just made it official. Senate group seeks new Russian Federation sanctions Watchdog files Hatch Act violation complaints against 10 Trump administration officials MORE had endorsed Black in the primary, but Trump had remained out of the governor's race.

Voters also decided on nominees for nine House races on Thursday. Polls have shown a close contest for the seat now held by retiring Republican Sen.

Voters faced a more competitive field in the race for the nomination to replace term-limited Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

The Blackburn-Bredesen showdown is among several races crucial to Trump's plans to maintain control of the Senate, where Republicans are defending a narrow two-seat majority. The last to win was former Vice President Al Gore in 1990.

The retirement of Corker created an open seat that will be heavily contested in November, but there are few surprises expected in Thursday's primary because each party has a clear front-runner heading into the fall.

"He ran a great campaign and now will finish off the job in November", the president tweeted, adding that the businessman "has my total and enthusiastic Endorsement!" Former state economic development chief Randy Boyd, who had the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was widely considered Black's chief rival. He mostly stayed out of the fray while other opponents savaged each other in attack ads. Bredesen rallied his supporters Thursday by telling them he'd be "the best damn senator you ever sent up to Washington".


Bredesen has criticized Trump's tariff policies, which threaten an estimated $1.4 billion in Tennessee exports, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a longtime Republican ally.

Bredesen, who remains popular, would again need to peel off support from moderate Republicans and independents.

Blackburn served on Trump's transition team and has not shied away from embracing the president.

Dean had a huge advantage in campaign cash, outspending Fitzhugh $4.4 million to $984,800.

Bredesen has walked a careful line throughout the campaign, saying he would support Trump on policies that are good for Tennessee and oppose him on those that aren't.

Blackburn and Bredesen have long run their race like their matchup was inevitable. NPR's Jessica Taylor reported on Blackburn, "She has always been a loyal conservative foot soldier and ticks off in her video the ways she would stand with President Trump - repealing the Affordable Care Act, backing the president's immigration ban and his border wall and his feud with the NFL over kneeling during the national anthem". But it hasn't elected one to statewide office since 2006, and in 2012 Republicans secured supermajorities in both houses for the first time since Reconstruction.

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