Fincher already contrasting himself with Blackburn

Stephen Fincher hasn’t yet declared his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, but the Associated Press reports he is drawing a stark contrast between himself and Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who launched her campaign for the Republican nomination within an hour of Gov. Bill Haslam’s announcement that he isn’t running.

Fincher said in an interview that he didn’t feel the same kind of pressure to immediately get into the race.

“This is not the kind of decision you can make in 15 minutes,” he said. “The way I’m looking at this is: I’m a Tennessean and I want somebody that’s going to go stand up for me and fight for me, and not get in the trenches of this is just another wrung in the ladder or a notch in the belt to finish a 25 to 30-year career.”

Fincher was a political novice when he was elected to the House in 2010. He served three two-year terms before surprising many observers by announcing his retirement in 2016. Blackburn was elected to the state Senate in 1998 and has served in Congress since 2003.

Fincher said he decided to leave the House before a self-imposed six-term limit because he had to attend to a family cotton farm while his brother was struggling with an illness.

“The good Lord has taken care of my brother and he’s doing great now, or I couldn’t even think about this,” he said.

…”Marsha’s very conservative, and so am I. Our records are very similar,” Fincher said. “But our style of governing — if we decide to do this, people will be able to see a big difference in what we accomplish and what we go to Washington to do.”

Fincher already has quick answers at the ready for issues on which he has faced criticism from the tea party wing of his party, such as his work to renew the charter of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, a credit agency that helps overseas buyers get financing to purchase American exports.

Fincher said the criticism is unwarranted because more than 100 Tennessee companies have used the bank, and that thousands of jobs have been created or protected in the process.

“President Trump is for it and President Reagan was for it, and it creates jobs and doesn’t cost the taxpayers a dime and returns money to the Treasury?” he said. “Wow, really?”

Fincher said voters are frustrated by the dysfunction in Washington even though Republicans control the White House and both chambers of Congress.

“Instead of making the decisions that’s right for the country and the state, they’re worried about what Fox News is going to say or how they’re going to get on CNN,” Fincher said.

Blackburn is a regular fixture on cable and television news shows.

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