Marsha Blackburn defeats Phil Bredesen to win U.S. Senate seat

Marsha Blackburn defeats Phil Bredesen to win U.S. Senate seat

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Republican Marsha Blackburn is projected to win the U.S. Senate seat, beating out Democrat opponent Phil Bredesen, according to NBC News.

She had this message for her democratic challenger former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen — in a race that featured millions in spending and attack ads.

“To Phil Bredesen and his team, I want to congratulate them on a hard-fought race and I hope they know that my door is always open,” Blackburn said during her acceptance speech. “And to their supporters I hope that they will work with us for better tomorrows for our children and our grandchildren.”

U.S. Senate-Elect Marsha Blackburn acceptance speech

With Republicans holding on to this Tennessee seat and picking up others across the country, they are adding to their majority in the Senate.

Blackburn is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee and released this statement after becoming Tennessee’s senator-elect:

“You have sent a message that it is time to take Tennessee conservative values to Washington and keep our state and our country moving forward. I am so incredibly grateful to each of you for doing your part, standing with me, staying strong and turning out the vote. It is such an honor to be the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee. I am going to work as hard for you as you have worked for me. Just as we said on day one, I will take our shared Tennessee values to work on issues of importance to you in Washington: more constitutional federal judges and Supreme Court Justices, lower taxes, less regulation, protecting the right to life, defending the Second Amendment, providing for our troops and veterans, getting the federal budget under control and building the wall once and for all on the southern border. Thank you for believing in me and giving me this opportunity. This is very humbling, and I will not let you down.”

It has been a long, hard campaign for both, who vied for the seat being vacated by Bob Corker.

This was a closely watched race, with Tennessee being a predominately red state. However, former governor Bredesen nippied at the heels of his Republican opponent and at times was even in the lead.

A lot of money has been spent on both sides by the candidates, and there of course has been sniping.

A spokesperson from the Republican National Committee released this statement in response to Blackburn winning, citing Bredesen’s endorsement from Taylor Swift:

Unfortunately for Phil Bredesen, he’s not going to be able to just shake it off. Congratulations, Senator-elect Blackburn!
Garren Shipley, RNC

Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally also released this statement on Blackburn’s win:

“Marsha Blackburn ran an outstanding campaign from start to finish. When the pundits had all but counted her out, she just fought harder. Marsha is the conservative champion we need in Washington to fight for the Trump agenda. She fought for Tennessee values in the legislature and in Congress. She will now continue the fight as Senator. I am grateful she will join a Senate majority in Washington committed to putting America First. Having served at the state level as well as the federal level, Marsha will help bring power back to the states and truly make America great again.”

Senator Bob Corker (R) tweeted his congratulations to both Blackburn and Tennessee Governor-Elect Bill Lee:

Leaders of the Tennessee Republican Party issued the following statements to congratulate Blackburn:

Tennesseans sent a clear message tonight: they want a true conservative champion to represent them in the U.S. Senate, and they knew Marsha Blackburn is that champion. Marsha will continue to represent our Tennessee values in Washington and she will stand with President Trump to put America First. We are proud of the race she ran and congratulate her as our next senator from the great state of Tennessee.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden
Marsha Blackburn’s victory marks an important moment in our state’s history. Not only does her win have national implications for our party, but she is the first woman elected to the Senate from Tennessee. Marsha has been breaking barriers her entire career and I could not be prouder to have her representing our state in the U.S. Senate.
Tennessee Republican Party Vice Chair Jennifer Little

People cleared out of Phil Bredesen's election night watch party quickly after the announcement.

His supporters held on until the very end, hoping for a win even after Lee Greenwood sang to his opponent Marsha Blackburn, after Bob Corker tweeted his congratulations to Blackburn and after NBC declared Blackburn the winner.

Just after 9 p.m., it became evident Bredesen lost the race, and at 9:10 p.m. he gave a short concession speech.

Bredesen had some star power endorsing him, including Taylor Swift and Priscilla Presley.

“I feel like I’ve had a wonderful time in politics,” Bredesen said during his concession speech. “First of all, I did try to call Marsha Blackburn before I came down. She was on stage apparently, but I do want to take this opportunity to congratulate her on her win."

Bredesen supporters yelled “we love you,” but it was clear he was disappointed, hoping his popularity as Tennessee governor would carry him through in the red state of Tennessee.

Bredesen vs. Blackburn for U.S. Senate

Blackburn spent much of Tuesday morning in West Tennessee at an Election Day Breakfast with supporters at Gibson’s Donuts in Memphis. She then moved on to stops up Interstate 40 in Jackson with Congressman David Kustoff.

She was in the eastern and middle part of the state Monday night.

“We are just so encouraged and the enthusiasm that you see for our campaign,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn clearly was trying to shore up her support in Memphis and its suburbs Tuesday morning.

Pundits and Bredesen himself have acknowledged he must win the Memphis area in order to secure a victory.

President Donald Trump has campaigned multiple times in Tennessee for Blackburn ahead of the midterms.

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