Primaries Set Up Tough Senate Battle in Tennessee

Political outsider wins GOP nomination for governor
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2018 2:24 AM CDT
Primaries Set Up Tough Senate Battle in Tennessee
Randy Boyd speaks at his watch party at Jackson Terminal in Knoxville, Tenn., on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018.   (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Thursday's primaries have set the stage for months of hard-fought campaigning in Tennessee—and with control of the Senate potentially in the balance, guaranteed that President Trump will be making a few visits to the state. In a move that the Washington Post predicts will give the party its best chance for a statewide win in a decade, Democrats nominated Phil Bredesen, a popular former governor, for the seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker, one of the GOP's most outspoken Trump critics. Bredesen will face the Republican nominee, strongly pro-Trump Rep. Marsha Blackburn. Polls show the two about even, and with a narrow 51-49 GOP majority in the Senate, the race is expected to attract a record-breaking amount of cash, the AP reports.

The primary vote also left the governor's race wide open, with businessman Bill Lee, a political newcomer, winning the GOP nomination after coming first in a field of six, the New York Times reports. His defeated rivals include Rep. Diane Black, who spent $10 million of her own money and whose speeches and ads touted her support of Trump. The president largely stayed out of the race, though Black did win an endorsement from Mike Pence. Lee will face former Nashville mayor Karl Dean, who cruised to victory in the Democratic primary, reports the Tennessean. The WWE star Kane, meanwhile, was elected mayor of Knox County, the state's third-largest county, CBS reports. The Republican, real name Glenn Jacobs, defeated Democrat Linda Haney with around 66% of the vote. (More Tennessee stories.)

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