Blog Entries

Purported former Bredesen voters say ‘not this time’ in Blackburn ad

A new ad by Republican Marsha Blackburn’s campaign and the National Republican Senate Committee features people who say they voted for Bredesen for governor, but won’t do so for Senate.

The Bredesen campaign was unimpressed.

“While Congressman Blackburn is too busy focusing on swamp scare tactics and continuing to follow the losing D.C. Diane playbook by dodging debates, Governor Bredesen is in Memphis today to share his ideas with voters in West Tennessee,” spokeswoman Ayssa Hansen said in an email.

“As he has said from Day 1, this campaign is open to voters of all stripes who are tired of hyper-partisan squabbling,” she said.

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Lee welds in new ad touting vocational training

Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee’s latest ad features the Franklin businessman using welding equipment and talking about how his plumbing and HVAC company has provided vocational training to workers.

“For way too way too long, we’ve told people, ‘You’ve got to go to college, don’t go into the trades,'” Lee says in the ad. “At Lee Company, we’ve trained more than a thousand skilled tradesmen in the last ten years. I don’t just talk about vocational training, we’ve actually done it.”

Lee faces Democrat Karl Dean, a former Nashville mayor, in the general election to succeed Republican Gov. Bill Haslam.

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Fox News poll has Blackburn leading Bredesen by 3

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the Republican Senate nominee in Tennessee, speaks at a Farm Bureau event in Franklin on Aug. 9, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Republican Marsha Blackburn has a 3 percentage point edge over Democrat Phil Bredesen in a new Fox News poll released Wednesday. The survey results follow an NBC/Marist poll that found Bredesen with a 2-point lead last week. Both polls receive A ratings from the polling website FiveThirtyEight.

In the Fox poll, Blackburn had 47% support, compared with Bredesen’s 44%. The poll of  686 likely voters and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The poll showed Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee with a 20-point lead over Democrat Karl Dean, 55%-35%, with 16% of Bredesen supporters crossing over to support Lee.

Eighty-one percent of Bredesen’s supporters said they feel certain they will vote for him, while 74% of Blackburn’s supporters said the same for her. Twenty percent said they might change their vote before November, while 8% were undecided.

Among those who said they support President Trump, 76% said they support Blackburn, while 16% support Bredesen. The former governor was supported by 93% of Democrats polled, while 83% of Republicans said they plan to vote for Blackburn.

According to the poll, the top issues for voters are:

  • Economy and jobs: 29%.
  • Health care: 27%.
  • Immigration: 14%
  • Taxes: 8%
  • Gun policy: 6%
  • Foreign Policy: 3%
  • International trade: 1%

Popularity ratings were similar for both candidates the Fox poll, with 54% having a favorable impression of Bredesen and 36% seeing him unfavorably. Blackburn’s favs/unfavs were 51%-39%.

President Trump had a 58% approval rating among likely voters, while 38% disapproved.

Thirty-nine percent of those polled said they think Trump’s trade policies are helping the U.S. economy, while 37% said they are hurting.

Bredesen, Blackburn make balanced budget pitches

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to reporters after at a Farm Bureau speech in Franklin on Aug. 9, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn on Tuesday unveiled rival plans for balancing the federal budget.

Bredesen told the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce that he wants to freeze all spending except Social Security to balance the budget within six years. Blackburn said she supports a balance budget amendment and across-the-board spending cuts for all but military expenditures.

“Everyone gives lip service to fixing the deficit, but there has been no action.  Democrats — my own party — have never been great on the subject, but since the Reagan era, Republicans have completely fallen off the wagon as well,” Bredesen said. “We ought to give it some serious thought.”

Republican Marsha Blackburn also tweeted her support for balancing the federal budget.

“I’ve been a deficit hawk, and I plan to take that same steely commitment to the U.S. Senate,” Blackburn said in a release.

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Dean takes aim at Lee over Medicaid expansion

A new ad by Democrat Karl Dean is taking aim at Republican gubernatorial rival Bill Lee over Medicaid expansion.

“I’ve stood next to Bill Lee when he’s been adamantly against expanding medicaid, even though it means more shut down hospitals and higher costs on all of us,” Dean says in the ad.

Dean notes in the spot that Tennessee doesn’t get back the full amount that it pays into the federal Medicaid program.

“I’ll expand Medicaid and bring our tax dollars home,” Dean says.

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NBC/Marist poll has Bredesen leading Blackburn by 2 points

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen speaks at a forum on business issues in Nashville on Aug. 15, 2018 (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A new NBC/Marist poll in the Tennessee Senate race has Democrat Phil Bredesen leading Republican Marsha Blackburn by 2 percentage points among likely voters, and 4 points among registered voters. Both are within the poll’s margin of error.

The poll found the governor’s race is far less competitive: Republican Bill Lee was leading Democrat Karl Dean 53%-40% .

Among likely voters, Bredesen was up 48-46, with 5% undecided.  Bredesen’s margin was 48-44 among registered voters.

Bredesen has near unanimous support among Democrats (97%-0%),  compared with Blackburn, who had an 86%-9% advantage among Republicans. Indepedents were leaning toward Bredesen 49%-45%.

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O’Hara: 3 ways Tennessee lawmakers could honor McCain

Gov. Bill Haslam gives a copy of his final State of the State speech to Senate Speaker Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) on Jan. 29, 2018 in Nashville. (Photo credit: Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

With The Tennessee Journal on break this week, former Tennessean political reporter Jim O’Hara offers some thoughts about how Tennessee might honor the legacy of the late U.S. Sen John McCain through some changes in the General Assembly:

Much was written last week about the best ways to honor the late Senator John McCain, from possibly re-naming the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington, D.C., to general pleas for more civility and bi-partisanship in our politics.

Let me propose three ways for Tennessee to act, not just talk, about honoring the late senator.

When the 111th Tennessee General Assembly convenes in January, the speakers of the Senate and House should name three committee chairs from the other party. In the Senate that would still leave the majority party with nine chairmanships. In the House that would leave the majority party with 14 chairmanships.

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Vote clears way for Nashville soccer stadium

The Nashville Metro Council has cleared the way for the construction of a Major League Soccer stadium. The Tennessean reports that a 31-8 vote to demolish existing structures at the state fairgrounds site was key to allowing the $275 million project to proceed (the measure required a two-thirds majority, or 27 votes).

A statement from Mayor David Briley:

I applaud the Council for its final approval of legislation to bring Major League Soccer to Nashville. This project will have a positive and lasting impact on our entire community. It embraces growth and new opportunities while ensuring every resident benefits and thrives along with it.

 This project will provide needed upgrades to the Fairgrounds, essential affordable housing, broad minority business opportunities and increased safety protections for our workers.

This project will improve the Fairgrounds facilities but it will not change our customs or the activities we cherish. I pledge to all of those engaged in these discussions over the past months that I am listening. Together we will build on the years of community tradition at our Fairgrounds and I look forward to continuing to work closely with you as this project moves forward.

Blackburn ad reminds voters of Trump support

In case you forgot, President Donald Trump is supporting Republican Marsha Blackburn in this year’s U.S. Senate race in Tennessee. She has a new ad to prove the point.

The spot rehashes comments Trump made at a rally for Blackburn in Nashville earlier this year: “Phil, whatever the hell his name is, this guy will 100 percent vote against us every single time.”

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Bredesen says attack ad is ‘full of flat-out lies’

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen in a new ad denounces what he calls “flat-out lies” in a spot being run by the Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of the conservative Koch network.

Bredesen in the ad takes Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn to task for the content of the ad that claims Bredesen supported gas and sales tax increases while he was governor (Politifact on Thursday called those claims “false.”)

“Congresswoman Blackburn, you’ve been in Washington 16 years now and frankly this ad shows it,” Bredesen says in the spot. The Democrat’s campaign has alleged coordination between the AFP and the Blackburn camp since top aide was recorded telling a GOP crowd that he expected the outside group to be a major player in the campaign.

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