Dems Land Top Recruit: Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen Will Run For Senate

Erik Schelzig/AP
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Senate Democrats appear to have scored a recruiting coup that increases their slim chances at retaking the chamber.

Popular former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D) will run for Senate, according to two local newspapers, giving Democrats a heavy-hitting candidate for long-shot seat.

Bredesen, who served two terms and left office with strong approval ratings in 2010, gives Democrats a well-connected and well-liked candidate who likely has a singular ability to win in the Republican-heavy state.

Sen. Bob Corker’s (R-TN) decision to retire has created a slim opening for Democrats in the state. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) is facing off against former Rep. Steven Fincher (R-TN) in the GOP primary.

National Democrats have courted Bredesen for months to run, seeing him as their best — and perhaps only — chance to win the seat in a state where President Trump won by 26 percentage points. And it sounds like they’ve got their man.

Senate Democrats are mostly on defense this year due to an unfavorable map with multiple red-state incumbents facing tough reelections. But putting Tennessee on the map gives them one narrow path back to the majority — especially if they can pull off an upset in Alabama’s special election next week.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cameron Joseph is Talking Points Memo's senior political correspondent based in Washington, D.C. He covers Capitol Hill, the White House and the permanent campaign. Previous publications include the New York Daily News, Mashable, The Hill and National Journal. He grew up near Chicago and is an irrationally passionate Cubs fan.
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