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Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn are on a collision course to claim their own slices of history in a critical U.S. Senate race.

President Trump won the state of Tennessee back in the 2016 election, surpassing opponent Hillary Clinton by 26-percentage points.

Easy primary wins Thursday just made it official.

The race on the Democratic side, like the Senate contest, was more of a foregone conclusion.

The contest to succeed popular term-limited Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has attracted four leading Republicans: U.S. Rep. Diane Black, former state economic development chief Randy Boyd, businessman Bill Lee and state House Speaker Beth Harwell.

The retirement of Corker created an open seat that will be heavily contested in November, but there are few surprises expected in Thursday's primary because each party has a clear front-runner heading into the fall.


Blackburn, who could become the state's first female US senator, will face former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in November. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean has outspent state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh $4.4 million to $984,800, though Fitzhugh has peeled off important endorsements from state employees' and teachers' groups. Today is a milestone and the beginning of the general election, and I am so grateful that you are entrusting me with the Republican nomination for United States Senate.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn campaigns Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, at a cafe in Brentwood, Tenn.

Blackburn served on Trump's transition team and has not shied away from embracing the president. Blackburn and former Gov. Phil Bredesen face only nominal primary oppositio. Corker, for one, has further complicated the race by saying he's supporting Blackburn but won't actively campaign against his friend, Bredesen.

Axios reports, "President Trump's endorsement is worth its weight in gold for Republican candidates in 2018.Four of the six who have won had Trump's blessing via endorsement - Lou Barletta in Pennsylvania, Jim Renacci in Ohio, Kevin Cramer in North Dakota and Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee".

"Congressman David Kustoff has been a champion for the Trump Agenda -- I greatly appreciate his support", the President tweeted. She has run in support of Trump's agenda, including his wall-building immigration crackdown and his U.S. Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh. Blackburn has aligned herself strongly with the White House and held public events in Tennessee with Trump and Pence.

In the governor's race, Democratic former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean touts himself as a leader like Bredesen who can break down partisan barriers and work with a Republican legislature during divisive political times.


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