Trump's decision not to endorse any candidate during the Tennessee GOP gubernatorial primary, despite having jumped into primary battles in Florida, Georgia, and MI, is another example of the president's innate political instincts and sense of timing.
Businessman Bill Lee has won a bruising Republican primary for Tennessee governor. Though the president had kind words to say about Black at a rally held in Nashville in May to support Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), who won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate on Thursday, a hoped for endorsement of Black by the president never came through.
Their bids for higher office, as well as the retirement of Knoxville Republican Rep. John Duncan Jr., have cleared the way for competitive, open contests in three of the state's nine U.S. House seats. Businessman Bill Lee topped a four-way Republican primary to face Dean this fall. It's time to end trash politics in Tennessee. Here are five takeaways from the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races.
She calls herself a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative" who would fight for President Donald Trump's agenda.
Blackburn is a strong Trump backer in a state that voted for the president by 26 percentage points in 2016.
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence endorsed Black, who could become the state's first female governor if she wins in November. NPR's Jessica Taylor reported, "In Tennessee, Phil Bredesen is trying to prove that national partisan divides can be overcome in the most surprising Senate battleground of 2018". "She will be a valuable partner for President Trump on his quest to make America great again".
In one of his campaign ads Bredesen said, "Look, I'm not running against Donald Trump".
Bredesen has countered that his record as governor shows he's an independent thinker who won't cave to party leaders. She has expressed "grave concern" about the tariffs, but said she appreciates the administration's goal of punishing bad actors like China.
Tennessee has a history of electing centrist senators.
Meanwhile, former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn face only nominal primary opposition in their race to replace retiring Republican Sen.
Corker also has very publicly tussled with Trump, once saying he had turned the White House into an "adult day care center", with the president tweeting in response that Corker "couldn't get elected dog catcher in Tennessee".
Dean had a huge advantage in campaign cash, outspending Fitzhugh $4.4 million to $984,800. But Bredesen would be one of the wealthiest members of Congress if elected and has already loaned $3.5 million of his own money to his campaign.