Blackburn gets new GOP primary opponent; says he’ll spend $5M

Citing fears that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn could lose to former Gov. Phil Bredesen in November, Williamson County businessman Darrell Lynn has declared himself a candidate for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination, reports The Tennessean. Lynn says he prepared to spend $5 million in personal funds on the campaign.

“If we want to keep this seat red, we better get somebody else in the race besides the existing people in the race,” he said in a recent interview with the USA TODAY NETWORK-Tennessee.

Admittedly a dark horse candidate, the Leiper’s Fork resident says he’s been in talks in recent months with current U.S. senators and Tennessee Republicans about his bid for the seat.

Lynn said around Christmas he even fielded a call from Steve Bannon, who previously served as chief strategist for President Donald Trump, who was “ringing the alarm bells.”

A Columbia native, Lynn previously lived in Chattanooga and Memphis before settling in Leiper’s Fork, which is among the wealthiest areas in Williamson County.

Lynn made his money while president of Rader Companies Inc., an engineering and manufacturing business which he said had more than $100 million in revenue. He also served on the executive board of a $1.5 billion company.

Since selling Rader Companies in 2007, Lynn has started four other businesses, including Decorative Leather Books LLC, which he says is the largest antique book dealer in the country. Lynn also established Hero Portraits, which donates portraits to fallen civil servants.

…“Marsha has simply been there too long,” Lynn said. “It is time to take (her) paddle, get off the boat and let someone with real world experience make a difference.”

Lynn said he was prepared to personally invest $5 million into his campaign and could even double that amount, if necessary.

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