Fresh from completing his “listening tour” of the Volunteer State, former US Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Crockett County) officially announced that the will join the open seat Republican primary campaign to succeed retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R). Mr. Fincher becomes the second major Republican candidate to enter the open contest, following 7th District US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) who immediately announced upon Sen. Corker making public his decision not to seek a third term.
Ms. Blackburn has moved quickly to lock up some key conservative support, such as the Club for Growth, while Fincher has taken hits for his family’s agri-business enterprise accepting government subsidies and voting in favor of funding the Export-Import Bank. Thus, the race is already adopting early campaign contrast points. The third GOP candidate is Andy Ogles, the former Tennessee director for Americans for Prosperity. He had originally announced a primary challenge against Sen. Corker, but remains in the race even though the incumbent will retire.
The Tennessee primary isn’t held until early August and, with a candidate filing deadline to be scheduled sometime in April, much time remains for this candidate field of contenders to solidify.
On the other side of the political ledger, Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen has backed away from earlier comments about not running for the seat, and now says he will decide whether to become a candidate in the next few weeks.
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