Phil Bredesen

Bredesen launches 60-second ad touting independence

Democratic Senate candidate is launching a new 60-second ad touting his independence and turning back attacks from Republican Marsha Blackburn (who also features in the ad saying nice things about Bredesen as governor).

“I’m Phil Bredesen. You know me,” Bredesen says in the ad. “When I first ran for governor, they said I’d bring in an income tax. It was just a scare tactic. I proved them wrong. I kept my word.”

Bredesen then moves on to talking about how he had to tackle spiraling TennCare costs and shows a clip of Blackburn saying “Our governor has worked diligently to get the cost down.”

The Democrat concludes the ad by launching his own attack on Blackburn.

“Today, the new scare tactic isn’t an income tax — it’s that I’ll somehow be Chuck Schumer’s lap dog. I don’t even support him,” he says. “Nobody’s going to tell me how to vote. After 16 years, Congresswoman Blackburn has become Washington. I want to change Washington.”

Bredesen a ‘yes’ on Kavanaugh nomination

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

A statement from Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen:

Presidents have the right to appoint justices who share their values–elections have consequences. I believe a Senator’s responsibility to ‘advise and consent’ is not a license to indulge in partisanship, but should focus on the qualifications of the nominee, their ethics and their temperament.

I believed that Judge Kavanaugh initially met this test, and I was prepared to say ‘yes’ to his nomination prior to Dr. Ford’s coming forward. While the subsequent events make it a much closer call, and I am missing key pieces of information that a sitting Senator has, I’m still a ‘yes.’

Dr. Ford is a heroine, and has brought forcefully into the national conversation the many barriers women face in reporting and dealing with sexual harassment and assault.  I was disgusted by the treatment she received at the hands of the Senate and am determined to help bring about a fairer and far more respectful treatment of these issues.

UPDATE: Here’s Blackburn’s response:

The timing of Phil Bredesen’s announcement is no coincidence. It’s a ploy to divert attention away from his record on sexual harassment and his weak record on illegal immigration policies. He thinks this will get him off the hook for his own sexual harassment problems, but there’s no covering up the fact that he destroyed evidence regarding sexual harassment claims against his friends and political allies. As governor, he gave drivers’ licenses to illegal immigrants. He opposes the wall, and he opposes President Trump’s travel ban. His campaign is bought and paid for by Chuck Schumer and national Democrats, including Michael Bloomberg. He put off an answer on Judge Kavanaugh for 88 days, under Chuck Schumer’s direction to stay neutral as long as you can. The contrast on these issues could not be more clear.

NRSC joins the fray in Tennessee Senate race

The National Republican Senate Campaign has launched its first ad of the U.S. Senate race in Tenneseee. It warns that if Phil Bredesen wins, Denecrats could take over the chamber.

Phil Bredesen and Washington liberals will stop at nothing to take back the Senate and empower radical left-wing politicians focused on repealing the progress President Trump has achieved,” NRSC spokesman Michael McAdams said in a release.

State Democrats notes that the NRSC has received more than $70,000 from auto dealer Lee Beaman, who has stepped down from the boards of Belmont University and Montgomery Bell Academy amid sordid allegations made in his divorce proceedings from his fourth wife.

“Marsha Blackburn and the NRSC should be ashamed of themselves for funding attack ads with money from a man accused of ‘sexual manipulations and degradation.’ They have refused to speak out against Lee Beaman, who’s now the co-chair of Blackburn’s pro-life coalition. Coupled with their rubber-stamp approval of Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination without even listening to the concerns of women, it’s obvious that neither Blackburn or the NRSC is interested in standing up for Tennessee women,” Beth Joslin Roth, Tennessee Victory 2018 Women’s Coalition co-chair, said in a release.

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Committee to Defend the President running ad against Bredesen

The Committee to Defend the President is running a new ad targeting Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen.

“Don’t let liberal Phil Bredesen rewind all of Trump’s accomplishments,” the narrator says. “Stop him before it’s too late.”

The PAC has spent more than $943,810 in Tennessee so far, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

UPDATE: The Bredesen camp, predictably, is not pleased. Says spokeswoman Alyssa Hansen:

Between the Koch Brothers, Mitch McConnell’s PAC, the NRSC, and every other out of state dark money group, plus the Blackburn campaign itself, Congresswoman Blackburn is taking the D.C. Diane playbook to new depths and turning on an unprecedented wave of negative attack ads in Tennessee. No amount of D.C. swamp politics can hide the fact that during her 16 years in Washington, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn has taken more than $800,000 from drug companies and in 2016 passed a law that federal drug enforcement agents said banned them from doing their job.

Online poll has Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race even

Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen and Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn speak at the 2018 Tennessee U.S. Senate Debate at Cumberland University Tuesday, Sept. 25, 2018, in Lebanon, Tenn. (Lacy Atkins/The Tennessean, pool)

An online NBC/Survey Monkey poll has the Senate race in Tennessee between Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen tied at 42% each among registered voters.

The poll isn’t held in particularly high regard by polling site, which gives it a D-minus rating. A previous Axios/Survey Monkey poll on Aug. 23 had Blackburn with a 14-point lead among registered voters.

The latest poll found Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee with 46% support, compared with 35% for Democrat Karl Dean.

The survey found 53% approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing, while 46% disapprove. The highest number of respondents, 26%, said jobs and the economy are their top issue, followed closely by health care at 25%. Next were immigration (15%), education (8%), the environment (7%), and terrorism (5%).

Seventy-eight percent had a positive impression of the state economy, while 22% said it was negative.

Asked whether a pledge to expand Medicaid in the state would affect their vote in November, 40% said it would make them more likely to vote for a candidate, 24% less likely, and 35% said it would make no difference.

Among other findings:

  • Race relations: 50% said they are staying the same, 33% said they are getting worse, and 16% said they are getting better.
  • Moving confederate monuments: 31% support, 69% oppose.
  • Raising taxes to pay for better infrastructure: 56% willing, 44% unwilling.
  • Raising taxes to pay for better public schools: 55% willing, 44% unwilling.
  • State legislature: 57% approve, 40% disapprove.


Blackburn and Bredesen hold first of two Senate debates

Here’s a roundup of the press coverage about the first Senate debate between Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen:

The Chattanooga Times Free Press‘ Andy Sher:

Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen clashed repeatedly here Tuesday night during their first televised U.S. Senate debate in a pivotal Tennessee contest rated as a toss up. Areas where the Brentwood Congress member Blackburn and Bredesen, a former governor, disagreed included the focus of President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, how the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court should be handled, addressing the U.S. deficit and the opioid epidemic.

The Tennessean’s Joel Ebert and Joey Garrison:

In the combative one-hour exchange that was tense from the outset, Blackburn, a conservative Williamson County congressman, went on the offensive early and often against Bredesen, painting him throughout as an ally of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor, framed himself as an independent who would work with Republicans and look beyond partisan bickering to solve issues. Although his jabs were less frequent, he attacked the firebrand Blackburn as embodying the political divisions of Washington.

The Associated Press’ Jonathan Mattise and Kimberlee Kruesi:

Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen quickly promised not to vote for Minority Leader Chuck Schumer as his Republican opponent U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn repeatedly sought to tie the former Tennessee governor to national Democrats in their first debate for U.S. Senate on Tuesday. Blackburn reiterated multiple times that Bredesen’s campaign “is bought and paid for” by Schumer, doubling down later with reporters that Schumer recruited Bredesen to run for the open Senate seat and pointing out that he’s previously donated to and at times has praised Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other leading Democrats. Meanwhile, Bredesen responded he would remain independent should he be elected in the upcoming Nov. 6 election, saying that he wouldn’t go to Washington to be a “political lackey.”

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On eve of Trump visit, state GOP blasts Dean for ‘out-of-state reinforcements’

On the heels of yesterday’s announcement that President Donald Trump is returning to Tennessee next week to campaign and raise money for Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn, the state GOP has issued a release blasting Democratic gubernatorial candidate Karl Dean for resorting to “out-of-state reinforcements” in the form of former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe.

Among the things the state GOP takes issue with about McAuliffe for are that he:

  • Was the governor of the only southern state to vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump.
  • Presided over more the introduction of more expensive highway tolls and supported higher taxes in northern Virginia to help fund the Metro.
  • Said impeachment of the president “ought to” be looked at.

“While Karl Dean continues to align himself with national Democrats like Ashley Judd and now Gov. Terry McAuliffe who are determined to undermine the president’s agenda, Bill Lee is spending his time meeting with Tennesseans in every county talking about his vision for this state,” state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said in a release.

Blackburn has had several out-0f-state Republicans rally to her cause beyond Trump. They include Vice President Mike Pence (twice) and Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Joni Ernst of Iowa.

Asked recently by The Associated Press whether he wanted national Democrats like former President Barack Obama to come campaign on his behalf, Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen said simply, “No.”

Bredesen takes aim at tariffs in new ad

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen has launched a new ad taking aim at $200 million worth of trade tarrifs going into effect on Monday that caused China to slap $60  billion on retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods including soy beans.

“These tariffs are hurting our farmers and costing us manufacturing jobs. That’s not how you get fair trade,” Bredesen says in the commercial. “You use America’s leverage to open markets, not to close them.”

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New poll has Bredesen edging Blackburn 51-49

Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen speaks at a rallt in Nashville on Aug. 20, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A new automated poll by Republican polling firm Vox Populi Communications finds Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen with a 51% to 49% advantage among likely voters over the GOP’s Marsha Blackburn.

The poll also found Republican gubernatorial candidate Bill Lee leading Democrat Karl Dean 55% to 45%.

Fifty-five percent said they approved of President Donald Trump’s performance, while 42% said they disapproved (40% said they think Trump should be impeached or forced to leave, while 60% said they disagreed).

Among other findings:

  • 25% approve of cutting entitlement programs like Medicare to balance the budget, 76% oppose.
  • 41% support abolishing ICE, 59% disapprove.
  • 44% say Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs are helping the state economy, 56% say hurting.
  • 57% say the support “a single payer healthcare system where the federal government would pay for healthcare for all Americans even if it means raising taxes to pay for it,” while 43% oppose.

The poll included 43% who identify as Republican, 32% as Democrats, and 25% as independents. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.

Polling site FiveThirtyEight rates NBC/Marist (Bredesen +2) and Fox (Blackburn +3) with an A, and CNN (Bredesen +5) with an A-minus. The site gives Vox (Bredesen +2) a B, with a 77% average of calling races correctly.


Bredesen ad features (identified) Republican supporters

A new ad by Democratic Senate candidate Phil Bredesen features Tennessee Republicans talking about why they are supporting him over GOP candidate Marsha Blackburn.

A recent Blackburn ad features purported former Bredesen voters when he was running for governor who now say they support the Republican, but the Bredesen campaign has denounced that spot as “using actors parroting fake lines.” The Blackburn camp insists they are real, unpaid Tennessee voters, but hasn’t identified them.

The Bredesen campaign identifies the five speakers his new spot as:

  • John Finch, contractor and former Mayor of Goodlettsville.
  • Sally Gracey, office manager.
  • Jamie White, law student.
  • Grady Gaskill, retiree.
  • Tom Cigarran, entrepreneur [and Nashville Predators owner]
  • Magi Curtis, public affairs professional.