Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced that he will sit out the race for U.S. Senate, teeing up a competitive Republican primary, Roll Call reports.
“James Mackler, who ditched a Democratic run for U.S. Senate in Tennessee last year, says he’s now running in 2020, becoming the first candidate in either major party to declare a candidacy for the seat to be vacated by the retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander,” the Tennessean reports.
“Mackler, a 46-year-old Nashville attorney and Iraq War veteran, announced his campaign in an online video Tuesday, looking to clear a Democratic lane still neraly two years out from the election.”
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), who has served in the U.S. Senate since first being elected in 2002, said that he will not seek a fourth term in the upper chamber, the Tennessean reports.
A new East Tennessee State University poll finds Marsha Blackburn (R) and Phil Bredesen (D) deadlocked in the race for U.S. Senate, 44% to 44%.
First Read: “Who would you rather be right now — Phil Bredesen in Tennessee or Beto O’Rourke in Texas? Both are trailing in red states by 5 points in the latest polls, though that’s within the margin of error.”
“In Bredesen’s favor are his postitive fav/unfav numbers (while Beto is upside down in the polls we’ve seen). In Beto’s favor is his cult-like status, plus all the money he has.”
“So what plays better for a Democrat in a Republican state — bright colors, or moderation?”
A new NBC News/Marist poll in Tennessee finds Marsha Blackburn (R) leading Phil Bredesen (D) in the U.S. Senate race by five points, 51% to 46% among likely voters, with just 3% still undecided.
Bredesen led by two points last month.
David Byler: “Readers often ask me ‘What’s one Senate race I need to watch to know which party is going to end up with control of the chamber?’ There are two honest, different, and yet compatible answers to this question.”
“The first: There’s no one race that will decide control of the Senate because it’s all a little bit like whac-a-mole. The map features multiple competitive races, and either party could make up for a loss in a ‘pivotal’ race with a win in another race.”
“The second: If you must pick just one race to watch, you should probably pick Tennessee.”
A new Vanderbilt University poll finds Phil Bredesen (D) with a slight edge over Marsha Blackburn (R) in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race, 44% to 43%.
Said pollster John Geer: “The bottom line is that Tennessee’s Senate race will be determined by which candidate is better able to turn out their base, as well as any national waves that occur — blue or otherwise.”
A new Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics Poll in Tennessee finds Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R) leading Phil Bredesen (D) in the U.S. Senate race, 47% to 44%.
Other recent polls have shown Blackburn with a substantially wider lead.
“Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen is facing backlash from some of the staunchest supporters of his Senate campaign after coming out in support of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court,” Politico reports.
“Campaign volunteers have been calling to cancel door-knocking and phone-banking shifts for Bredesen since his statement backing Kavanaugh… At least 22 volunteers so far have reached out to express frustration with the decision.”
Washington Examiner: “Blackburn cruised past Bredesen in two public opinion polls conducted at the apex of the Kavanaugh controversy. The fresh data suggests the episode has nationalized the Tennessee contest and led Republicans open to voting for the Democrat to retreat to their partisan bunkers. In one survey, Blackburn topped Bredesen by 8 percentage points; in another, she was in front by 5 points.”
“In a stunning turnaround from her refusal to discuss anything related to politics, Taylor Swift revealed whom she’s voting for in the 2018 midterms,” the Washington Post reports.
“The pop megastar, who just wrapped up a 40-date stadium tour across the country, posted a long Instagram caption Sunday night. In it, Swift, who is registered to vote in Tennessee, gave a detailed explanation about why she’s voting for Democrats Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for the House.”
Swift also slammed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN): “Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.”
“One of the top Democratic aligned super PACs says it will no longer consider helping Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen in Tennessee’s Senate race after Bredesen announced his support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court,” the Daily Beast reports.
“The group, Priorities USA Action, also said it would steer clear of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin’s reelection fight in West Virginia should he vote to confirm Kavanaugh on final passage this Saturday. On Friday, Manchin was the sole Democrat to vote to proceed with the nomination.”
Politico: “Tennessee Democrat Phil Bredesen said at a debate Tuesday that if he is elected to the Senate, he would not back Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to continue as Democrats’ leader. Bredesen made the announcement during the opening statements of his first debate with the Republican nominee, Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Bredesen said Washington had become ‘hyperpartisan’ and blamed current leadership in both parties.”
“The pledge is functionally useless — unlike in the House, where the speaker is chosen by a majority of the chamber in a floor vote, Senate party leaders are chosen by a majority in a private caucus vote. While there might be enough Democratic House candidates to deny Pelosi the 218 votes she needs to become speaker again, there is virtually no chance of Schumer being dethroned by the Democratic Caucus after the election.”
A new CNN poll in Arizona finds Kyrsten Sinema (D) tops Martha McSally (R) by 7 points in the U.S. senate race, 50% to 43% among likely voters.
In Tennessee, Phil Bredesen (D) holds a 5-point edge over Marsha Blackburn (R), 50% to 45% among likely voters there.
Roughly 1 in 6 voters in each state say there’s a chance they’ll change their mind before Election Day.
Greg Sargent: “The thing is, though, that Tennessee looks like a must win for Democrats if they are to gain the majority. It goes back to that math problem again: If a Democratic incumbent loses in one of those four states, Democrats have to flip Tennessee in addition to Arizona and Nevada to win the Senate. The only alternative is running the table in all those six states other than Tennessee.”
Said J.B. Poersch, the head of the Senate Majority PAC: “There’s a way to get to the majority without Tennessee. But it’s a high priority.”
A new NBC News/Marist poll in Tennessee finds Phil Bredesen (D) edging Marsha Blackburn (R) in the U.S. Senate race, 48% to 46% among likely voters.
Among the larger pool of registered voters, Bredesen leads Blackburn by four points, 48% to 44%, but it’s still within the survey’s margin of error.
“After months of campaigning and more than $50 million in spending, Tennessee voters head to the polls Thursday decide who will be the Democratic and Republican gubernatorial nominees,” the Tennessean reports.
“Also on the ballot are primaries for the U.S. Senate, Congress, the state legislature and a host of local contests across the Volunteer State.”
Politico: Why is Tennessee’s primary on a Thursday?