Tennessee: One In, One Out
US Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood), armed with over $3 million in her campaign account and a fresh endorsement from the Club for Growth, announced yesterday that she will enter the open US Senate campaign. The move was expected. Simultaneously, Gov. Bill Haslam (R) publicly stated that he will not become a Senate candidate.
We can expect a crowded Senate Republican primary, with Ms. Blackburn being one of the top contenders. Former US Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Crockett County) is a possible candidate. Andy Ogles, the Tennessee director for Americans for Prosperity who had launched a primary against Sen. Bob Corker before the incumbent announced his retirement, remains active. Former state Rep. Joe Carr, who held Sen. Lamar Alexander (R) to a nine point primary win in 2014, but then went onto suffer a crushing defeat in a congressional match-up with Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin), is another potential candidate.
Yesterday a fourth potential Democratic candidate removed himself from consideration. Wealthy businessman and former Nashville mayoral candidate said he will not run for the Senate. Earlier, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville), and Nashville Mayor Megan Barry all declined to enter the open seat statewide campaign.
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