Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty (R) won the Republican Senate primary in Tennessee, the AP reports.
Jessica Taylor has a good look at the today’s primary to replace retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), where Trump-endorsed Bill Hagerty (R) faces Manny Sethi (R) in what has become an “intense mudslinging” contest.
“Now, Tennessee Republican insiders believe either candidate has the potential to win, with Sethi possessing the late momentum but the fundamentals of the contest still perhaps favoring Hagerty. Recent elections have shown that Trump’s endorsement is as close to a silver bullet as you can get in a GOP primary, but Sethi has honed in on what might be the new Achilles heel for more establishment Republican candidates — previous support of Mitt Romney. This race presents a test of whether new alliances can trump old ones within the Republican Party.”
Politico: “The race was never supposed to be competitive: The Trump-backed candidate, Bill Hagerty — who served as the president’s ambassador to Japan — was on a glide path. … But as the contest has tightened in the run-up to the Aug. 6 election, Hagerty’s main opponent, Manny Sethi, has found traction by claiming to be the true, unapologetic Trumpian conservative in the race — while blasting Hagerty as a squishy, Mitt Romney-loving phony.”
“Hagerty largely ignored Sethi most of the race — seemingly confident of his lead which his internal polls had at 17 points — until earlier this month, when he abruptly went on the offensive… The battle is a window into the changing nature of the Republican Party, in which economic populism is in vogue, and race and identity have been thrust to the fore.”
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.
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