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Election 2018-Senate Tennessee

Bredesen v. Blackburn: All eyes on Tennessee

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WASHINGTON (CIRCA) - One of the most closely watched races this midterm election year has been the battle for U.S. Senate in Tennessee.

Once known as the home of the Blue Dog Democrats, Tennessee could become a fully red state under complete Republican control.

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen won the Democratic nomination -- the open seat Democrats see as critical to their hopes of taking control of the Senate.

Bredesen is running as an "independent thinker" who says he will work with President Donald Trump when his ideas make sense for Tennessee and oppose the president when they don't.

Phil Bredesen
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, front center, campaigns Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn., in his bid for U.S. Senate. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

“I'd love to work with the president and try to craft those kinds of more precise solutions,” said Bredesen.

“People know a lot more about me than just my party affiliation or what you say in an ad. There's a lot people out there who have believed in me and trusted me who are Democrats and Independents and Republicans. I'm just asking them to continue to do that because I'd like to continue to help people of our state.”

The Republican nominee, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, could become the first female senator elected by Tennessee voters. She calls herself a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative" who would fight for President Trump's agenda.

“Yeah, and not to be is someone who is going to worry about political correctness,” said Blackburn.

“I think that what Tennesseans want to see is someone who is going to work with them and going to be right there every step of the way with them to get things done. They are so frustrated with Washington, D.C., and you can go to Washington to be a part of the elites and the in-crowd, or you can go to get something done. My focus is on how I make certain that we're in a safer place and how we preserve freedom for our kids and our grandkids. That's my focus.”

Blackburn Conservatives
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., addresses the Road to Majority Conference in Washington, Friday, June 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Some political watchers suggest Blackburn is relying too heavily on Trump voters.

"Trump is still very popular in this state,” said Tom Ingram, founder of The Ingram Group, a consulting and lobbying firm.

“But I'm not sure it's a good assumption that every Trump voter is a very conservative or even a Republican voter."

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