Tennessee faces defining choice in open US Senate contest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn want Tennessee voters to make polar-opposite statements when they decide a critical, $85 million-and-counting U.S. Senate race.

A win Tuesday for Bredesen would show the popular former governor’s moderate messaging is the preference of Tennesseans statewide, even though he’s a Democrat in a red state that voted for President Donald Trump by 26 percentage points in 2016. Bredesen was the last Democrat to win statewide with his 2006 re-election. A Tennessee Democrat hasn’t won a Senate seat since Al Gore in 1990.

Victory for Blackburn would validate the eight-term congresswoman’s strong alignment with Trump in a state that has previously picked more centrist senators, including retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker. Blackburn also would become the first woman U.S. senator from Tennessee.

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