Conservative Marsha Blackburn has defeated former Gov. Phil Bredesen in the Tennessee Senate race.
Blackburn’s campaign reached the national spotlight in September when pop icon Taylor Swift, in one of the singer’s first political commentaries, urged voters to support Bredesen. Swift framed Blackburn as anti-LGBT and anti-woman.
The jab at Blackburn brought a Trumpian comeback from President Donald Trump, who observed, “Let’s say that I like Taylor’s music about 25 percent less now, OK?” according to a White House media pool report.
Trump said Swift was off key with her comments.
“I’m sure Taylor Swift has nothing — or doesn’t know anything about her (Blackburn),” Trump said.
Trump said Blackburn, currently a congresswoman, “is doing a very good job in Tennessee,” CNN reported.
Blackburn ran with Trump’s strong support in a seat vacated by the retirement of Republican Bob Corker, who often clashed with Trump.
Corker refused to say last week whether he voted for Blackburn or Bredesen.
“I think you know, so, I’ll leave it at that,” Corker said, according to the Tennessean.
“Yeah, I endorsed her early on,” Corker said later. In its reporting, the newspaper described that endorsement as “rather tepid.”
The Blackburn and Bredesen campaigns sparred over a wide range of issues. A fiery exchange over immigration took place last week as the campaign wound down.
In speaking of the caravan on migrants moving through Mexico, Blackburn said in a statement that Bredesen “would like to roll out the welcome mat for them.”
“It comes as no surprise that my opponent said the illegal alien mob nearing our border is ‘not a threat’ to security, considering he called the border wall ‘political theater’ and granted illegal aliens state-issued, taxpayer funded driving certificates as governor,” her statement said.
Bredesen’s camp was outraged.
Spokeswoman Alyssa Hansen said Blackburn was spreading “outright lies” about Bredesen’s “proven track-record on immigration” and that the comments show how “well-versed she has become in D.C. swamp politics.”
“Instead of focusing on fixing our country’s broken immigration system, she’s fixated on using negative, false attacks to bolster her own failing campaign and using a serious problem as a wedge issue,” Hansen said.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Sunday on “Meet The Press” that he felt Blackburn got a shot in the arm in the very close race from the contentious hearings over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
“Tennessee is one of those states where the Kavanaugh hearings did change things. People realized, well it really doesn’t matter, kind of, what you’re saying. The color of the jersey you’re wearing up there is really important,” Haslam said. “I don’t know exactly, but I think the Kavanaugh hearings had a 5- or 6-point swing in Tennessee.”
Tennessee has not had a Democratic senator since 1995.
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