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CNN projection: Blackburn elected to US Senate

CNN projects that Tennessee voters will elect Republican Marsha Blackburn to the US Senate, defeating Democrat Phil Bredesen.

Posted: Nov 7, 2018 9:33 AM
Updated: Nov 7, 2018 9:47 AM

Rep. Marsha Blackburn will win the race to represent Tennessee in the US Senate, CNN can project, outlasting a challenge from former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat who looked to run against his party to win in a state President Donald Trump won by 26 percentage points in 2016.

Blackburn, a conservative lawmaker closely tied to the President, looked to nationalize the Senate race as much as possible, hoping to tap into the same conservatism that elected Trump in order to blunt some goodwill Bredesen had built up during his two terms as governor. Trump visited the state three times. Blackburn will be the first female senator to represent her state.

Democrats had hoped to pick up Tennessee as part of a narrow path to retaking the Senate.

Although Bredesen ran as a Democrat, he largely ran away from the national party and regularly touted his ties to the state and independence from Washington, D.C. The strategy was clear: He hoped to bank on the fact he won every county in the state in 2006 during his second run for governor and looked to tag Blackburn as a traditional Washington ideologue.

Bredesen got some help, too. Sen. Bob Corker, whose decision to retire opened the seat and gave way to the Democratic campaign, declined to help bury the popular Democrat, a clear sign that not all Republicans have been wooed by the Trump wing of the party.

And the former governor also energized Tennessee Democrats who had long struggled to gain traction in the state. Taylor Swift, a pop star known for staying out of politics, eagerly got behind his campaign, too.

Blackburn, however, looked to highlight Bredesen's party affiliation at every turn, regularly tying him to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and some of the more high-profile liberal members of the legislative body.

"Phil Bredesen has said he would have voted against the tax cuts," Blackburn said during one debate. "Chuck Schumer has bought and paid for his campaign."

Bredesen looked to blunt the attack by telling voters he would not back Schumer for Majority Leader if he were elected.

The former governor also announced during the campaign that he would have voted in favor of Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump's controversial Supreme Court pick, whose confirmation hearings became a national event after professor Christine Blasey Ford testified that Kavanaugh had sexually assaulted her in high school. Kavanaugh denied the allegations.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1003647

Reported Deaths: 16423
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1351072116
Lake661851159
Allen57674800
Hamilton46217464
St. Joseph44210611
Elkhart35807508
Vanderburgh32162480
Tippecanoe27859258
Johnson25007444
Hendricks23795357
Porter22856365
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Delaware15024261
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Hancock11682175
Bartholomew11548180
Warrick11270189
Floyd11059214
Wayne10946253
Grant10019219
Morgan9438176
Boone8891116
Dubois8249131
Dearborn819893
Henry8174152
Noble8003106
Marshall7891135
Cass7519121
Lawrence7433171
Shelby7171119
Jackson695889
Gibson6567115
Harrison646691
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DeKalb628699
Montgomery6229109
Miami591498
Putnam577678
Clinton572171
Whitley563455
Steuben558976
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Jasper527879
Jefferson509297
Ripley498686
Adams479775
Daviess4653114
Scott438473
Greene423596
Wells422588
Clay421360
White417364
Decatur4152102
Fayette405787
Jennings385961
Posey375844
Washington356150
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Randolph343499
Spencer338743
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Sullivan327852
Starke315570
Owen313970
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Perry264852
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Blackford191841
Pulaski183157
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Ohio84213
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