Phil Bredesen

Taylor Swift doubles down support for Bredesen

Taylor Swift is drawing another round of national attention for her support of Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen. This time it’s for an Instagram post featuring a photo of the pop megastar and her mother posing in front of a horse trailer with a Bredesen for Senate sign attached to it.

“These two Tennessee women voted for the candidate who has proven himself to be reasonable and trustworthy,” Swift writes in the post. “We want leadership, not fear-based extremism.”

Swift had previously broken her silence on political matters by endorsing Bredesen — and speaking out against Blackburn.

“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,” Swift said in the earlier post.

Bredesen touts role in sending Tennessee Guard to border

A new ad from Democrat Phil Bredesen’s Senate campaign touts his decision to send Tennessee National Guard troops to the border when he was governor in 2006.

“When the president said he needed help to secure the border, Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen didn’t wait to be asked. And he didn’t play any politics,” the narrator says in the ad. “Governor Bredesen took immediate action and sent 1,600 Tennessee National Guard volunteers to the border.”

The ad follows a commercial run by Republican Marsha Blackburn criticizing Bredesen for suggesting that a caravan of migrants doesn’t pose a security threat to the strongest country in the world. Blackburn’s ad says the caravan includes “gang members, known criminals, people from the Middle East. Possibly even terrorists.”

 

Blackburn decries ‘angry mob’ while Bredesen supporters look to turn out African-American vote

Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn shake hands after the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

As Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn makes a big media push about what she calls a “liberal angry mob” for disrupting a weekend rally with U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), an independent group called the Black Progressive Action Coalition has jumped into the contest, spending more than $2.7 million on canvassing and direct mail in its support of Democrat Phil Bredesen.

Early voting has been highest so far in Shelby and Davidson counties, the state’s largest in terms of overall and African-American populations. Bredesen will need to carry both counties by large margins and also peel off traditionally Republican voters in other parts of the state in order to win next week’s election. Blackburn’s efforts will be focused on trying to prevent Republicans who gave President Donald Trump a 26-point victory in Tennessee in 2016 from crossing over to support Bredesen.

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Trump confirms Sunday rally in Chattanooga

President Donald Trump has confirmed his final series of rallies before the Nov. 6 election, including a third visit to Tennessee on behalf of Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn.

After stops in Nashville and Johnson City, Trump’s final visit will be in Chattanooga on Sunday evening.

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Race cars in political ads: Who did it better?

When Republican Marsha Blackburn rolled out (ahem) a new ad featuring the candidate in a race car, some old timers were reminded of a similar spot run by Van Hilleary, the GOP nominee for governor in 2002. So who did it better?

Here, for comparison’s sake are the two ads:

And, lest we forget, Blackburn and Hilleary’s common opponent, Democrat Phil Bredesen, hasn’t been averse to sponsoring a race truck. But we can’t remember if it featured in any ads. If so, send a link in the comments and we’ll add it to the comparo.

Blackburn fundraising appeal cites ‘statistical tie’ in Senate race

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a rally in Franklin on Oct. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A fundraising appeal from Republican Marsha Blackburn’s campaign calls the Senate race with Democrat Phil Bredesen a “dead heat” and says she needs to raise the (oddly specific) amount of $22,876 per day through the last 10 days of the month to prevail.

Here’s a copy of the email from Kevin Golden, Blackburn’s campaign manager (note that the link doesn’t bring up any further information, but it does give a link to make contributions) :

Date: October 22, 2018
Re: 15-Day Strategy

Team-

We are now 15 days out from Election Day and 4 days into Early Voting.

As you know, many of the polls coming out have demonstrated a dead heat—a statistical tie—and we are in need of a new strategy to put us over the edge.

Based on the trends we’ve been observing, we need to hit our target audiences harder, so we’re going to push more digital ads and have mapped out a new plan for TV ads. We’re going to need more resources, so we crunched the numbers – huge shout out to the finance team for getting that done.

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New Vanderbilt poll has Bredesen up by 1 point

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to the Nashville Rotary on Aug. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A new Senate poll conducted for Vanderbilt University shows Democrat Phil Bredesen edging Republican Marsha Blackburn among registered voters 44% to 43%.

The poll was conducted by SSRS, which receives an A-minus rating from polling site FiveThirtyEight.com. The same company conducted a poll for CNN from Sept. 11 through Sept. 15 that found Bredesen with a 50% to 42% advantage among registered voters, and a 50% to 45% lead among likely voters.

The Vanderbilt poll of 800 registered voters was conducted between Oct. 8 and Oct. 13, and 83% said they “definitely will vote.” It has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

The survey found Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee with a 48% to 37% lead over Democrat Karl Dean among registered voters, with 12% undecided. The September CNN poll found Lee with a 49% to 43% lead among registered voters (and 52%-43% advantage among likely voters).

President Donald Trump’s approval rating was 55%, while 42% disapproved.

O’Hara: Bredesen has steep hill to climb as early voting gets underway

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks to reporters in Nashville on Oct. 16, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A guest column from former Tennessean reporter Jim O’Hara:

When Phil Bredesen announced his U.S. Senate bid in December 2017, he had a steep hill to climb. If you look at the numbers – voter registrations, turnout projections and August primary results, that hill hasn’t gotten any less steep.

The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office released in June 2018 the latest voter registration numbers statewide. The 10 counties with the most registered voters are: Blount, Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Montgomery, Rutherford, Shelby, Sullivan, Sumner, and Williamson. In 2014, those 10 counties provided 54% of the total vote.

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight offers a reasonable projection for voter turnout in November in Tennessee: about 43%. A 43% turnout is about seven percent above the 2014 turnout, and so it captures the “enthusiasm” notion. If those top 10 counties all turn out at a 43% level, they will cast almost 949,000 votes, or slightly more than 55% of the statewide total.

In short, those 10 counties will in all probability decide the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee. The other 85 counties will have marginal impact.

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Reuters poll: Tennessee Senate race within statistical tie

Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn shake hands after the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

A new Reuters poll shows the Tennessee Senate race within a statistical tie. The online survey has Republican Marsha Blackburn with 47% support, compared with 44% for Democrat Phil Bredesen. The poll’s margin or error is plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Pollster Ipsos gets a B-plus rating from the FiveThirtyEight.com.

According to a release about the Reuters/Ipsos/Univeristy of Virginia poll conducted between Oct. 4 and Oct. 11:

In the generic ballot question, however, Republicans lead Democrats by 8 points (50% to 42%, respectively), making this close race all the more interesting, as Bredesen appears to be over-performing on multiple partisan measures.

Among likely voters, 53% approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President, as opposed to 46% who disapprove. The top issue in determining the vote in Tennessee is healthcare (17%), followed by immigration (13%) and the economy (12%). On this issue, 40% of likely voters feel that Bredesen has the better policy as opposed to 38% who feel that Blackburn has the better policy.

Likely voters in Tennessee are more likely to report they do not believe the allegations of sexual conduct against Kavanaugh (48%) compared to 35% who do. When asked, 51% of likely voters support Kavanaugh’s nomination while 39% oppose it. On the issue of the Supreme Court, 41% of likely voters report that Blackburn has a better policy, compared to 32% who report that Bredesen has the better policy.

Outside spending in Senate race now exceeds $30M

Democratic candidate and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, left, speaks during the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate with Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn at The University of Tennessee Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018, in in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)

The total amount of independent expenditures in the Tennessee Senate race has exceeded $30.5 million as of Tuesday morning.

Until recently, two out of every three dollars worth of outside money was going to either supporting Republican Marsha Blackburn or attacking Democrat Phil Bredesen. But recent filings show an uptick in spending targeting Blackburn.

The SMP group on Monday disclosed spending $3.4 million on ads attacking Blackburn. That’s in addition to $8.4 million the Majority Forward PAC has spent and $1 million from the American Federation of State County & Municipal Employees. The total money targeting Blackburn has now reached nearly $13 million.

Meanwhile, opponents of Bredesen have spent about $17.5 million. The biggest spenders include the Senate Leadership Fund ($8.5 million), Americans for Prosperity ($4.7 million), NRSC ($1.5 million), and the Committee to Defend the President (nearly $1 million). The NRA has spent another $846,531.

About 56% of the outside money has spent by groups favoring Blackburn or opposing Bredesen.