Haslam predicts Blackburn will win by at least 5 points

Gov. Bill Haslam speaks at a press conference at the state Capitol in Nashville on March 1, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Haslam predicted on  NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd on Sunday that Republican Marsha Blackburn will comfortably win the Senate race against Democrat Phil Bredesen because voters in Tennessee care more about the partisan makeup of the chamber than about the individual promises made by candidates.

The governor said the furor surrounding the Supreme Court confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh shifted the race in Tennessee by 5 or 6 percentage points in Blackburn’s favor, adding that he thinks “Marsha will win by at least that much.”

“Tennessee is one of those states where the Kavanaugh hearings did change things,” Haslam said. “People realized well it really doesn’t matter, kind of, what you’re saying. The color of the jersey you’re wearing up there is really important.”

Todd asked Haslam about whether President Donald Trump, who was scheduled to campaign for Blackburn in Chattanooga later on Sunday, could hurt candidates running in states like Florida.

“I don’t think any race is entirely on the president, win or lose,” Haslam said, “In governors’ races it’s about the quality of the candidate.”

Haslam, the chairman of the Republican Governors Association,  said he doesn’t think gubernatorial candidates Brian Kemp in Georgia and Kris Kobach in Kansas, both Republicans, should step down from their positions as secretaries of state over conflict of interest questions when it comes to elections oversight.

“If our secretary of state was running, I wouldn’t ask him to step down because there are so many checks and balances in the process that I just don’t have any fear about the integrity of the ballot,” Haslam said. “I don’t know exactly in Kansas and Georgia how they work. But I personally don’t have any concern about that.”

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