MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn, candidates for U.S. Senate, were supposed to have a debate at Rhodes College on Thursday night. But Blackburn said she couldn’t make it because of a scheduling conflict.
Bredesen showed up to an appreciative crowd.
Rhodes College students like sophomore Alice Berry and other people who showed up had to be satisfied with a cardboard cutout of Blackburn.
“It’s disappointing because first off I would hope people could work across party lives and still have a conversation with one another,” Berry said.
WMC Action News 5 political analyst Michael Nelson said it’s a big mistake for Blackburn.
“Marsha Blackburn has dug a hole for herself. She may be able to climb out of it, but she’s got some repair work to do in this part of the state,” he said.
Plenty of people, mainly Rhodes College students who are voters, did show up to hear what former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen had to say.
He answered questions from the audience, ranging from how will you ensure people with pre-existing health problems will be able to get health care, to how will you deal with the opioid crisis in Tennessee, to how will you deal with the politics in Washington DC.
Bredesen touted his experience as mayor of Nashville and then governor of Tennessee, telling the crowd he understands what the general public wants and will work to bring it to the people if he is elected for the U.S. Senate.
Nelson said the various polls put Blackburn and Bredesen neck and neck.
A spokesperson for Blackburn said she is looking forward to other debates in other parts of the state, and she will be in Collierville on Saturday at the home of state Senator Brian Kelsey.