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12:52, 03 August 2018

Underdog Bill Lee surges to win Tennessee GOP gubernatorial principal pivotal Senate race requires shape

Underdog Bill Lee surges to win Tennessee GOP gubernatorial primary pivotal Senate race takes shape

Underdog conservative outsider Bill Lee upset a crowded field of properly-funded, much better-known candidates to win Tennessee’s Republican gubernatorial major Thursday, sending shockwaves through a state&nbspwhere he was down double-digits in polls&nbspas not too long ago as last month.

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who had the endorsement of Vice President Mike Pence, was the clear favored in the race. Former state financial improvement chief Randy Boyd, who had the backing of former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, was extensively regarded as Black’s chief rival.

But President Trump, who has a 56 percent approval rating in Tennessee, stopped short of endorsing any candidate in the race, like Black — in spite of maintaining her by his side and praising her at a number of events.

Lee, a businessman whose poll numbers surged drastically in the last week of the campaign, took advantage of infighting among his rivals, as he traveled the state and touted his Christian values although Boyd and Black sparred.

On the eve of the major vote, supporters of Black’s campaign, probably realizing the threat posed by Lee’s insurgent candidacy, released an attack advertisement suggesting Lee’s firm had terminated an employee and Army National Guard member for becoming deployed.

Lee strongly denied the allegations, and his organization sent out a cease-and-desist letter concerning the messaging.

Underdog Bill Lee surges to win Tennessee GOP gubernatorial principal pivotal Senate race requires shape

Businessman Bill Lee (proper) beat out Rep. Diane Black, businessman Randy Boyd and state Rep. Beth Harwell for the Republican nomination in the Tennessee gubernatorial race.

&nbsp(Campaign pictures)

Harsh rhetoric in the campaign was backed by huge funds. The prime 4 Republican contenders for governor, which includes Black, Lee, Boyd, and State Home Speaker Beth Harwell, spent a combined $40 million of their own private wealth fighting over who is more devoted to Trump, setting records and underscoring the president’s&nbspcontinuing influence in state races. The candidates have been searching for to replace the state’s term-restricted Gov. Bill Haslam.

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, a moderate, won the Democratic principal for the state’s governorship, defeating state Property Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh in a largely cordial race. But the surprising final results in the Republican gubernatorial main contest will reverberate nationally, serving as a bellwether for Trump enthusiasm and establishment influence in a state that supported the president by double digits in 2016.

Karl Dean thanks supporters at a victory party after winning the Democratic nomination for Tennessee governor Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Karl Dean, who was favored to win the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Tennessee, celebrates his victory Thursday.


Meanwhile, the Democratic and Republican Senate primaries on Thursday provided less drama, but posed probably even greater national significance.&nbsp

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn won the Republican nomination in Tennessee’s open U.S. Senate race to replace the retiring Sen. Bob Corker, which&nbspholds main implications for Democrats’ possibilities for overturning the 51-49 Republican Senate majority in November.

Bredesen Blackburn Split AP

Phil Bredesen, left, and Marsha Blackburn were projected to win their respective major battles and face off in a key Senate fight in November.


Blackburn very easily overcame minimal opposition in Thursday’s main. She and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who won the state’s Democratic main on Thursday, have extended looked past the primaries to their upcoming basic election matchup.

Polls have shown Blackburn and Bredesen are neck-and-neck in the race, which Fox News currently assesses is a tossup. Blackburn could become the 1st woman elected to the U.S. Senate by Tennessee voters.

She calls herself a &quothardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative&quot who would fight for President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, front center, campaigns Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2018, in Memphis, Tenn., in his bid for U.S. Senate. Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn face only nominal primary opposition in their race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen, front center, campaigning Wednesday in Memphis, Tenn., in his bid for U.S. Senate. Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn faced only nominal major opposition in their race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.


Bredesen is operating as an independent thinker who says he will function with Trump when his ideas make sense for Tennessee and oppose him when they do not.


The Blackburn-Bredesen showdown is amongst many races essential to Trump&rsquos plans to keep control of the Senate, where Republicans are defending a narrow two-seat majority. If Democrats retake the Senate, it would deal a significant blow to Trump’s agenda, hampering his potential to appoint federal judges and all but killing the prospect of signature initiatives like a southern border wall.

Trump has endorsed Blackburn, an eight-term congresswoman, and traveled to Tennessee in Could to campaign for her. Blackburn told Fox News at the time that Trump’s help had helped her candidacy construct &quotmomentum.&quot

Blackburn served on Trump&rsquos transition team and has not shied away from embracing the president. She is a single of the lawmakers who&nbspsigned onto a letter&nbspnominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize.&nbsp

In a Thursday look, Governor Haslam touted Blackburn’s candidacy. The governor suggested that maintaining Republican Senate manage is important in portion because Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander would drop his health committee chairmanship, among other leadership modifications.

Bredesen, 74, has helped his viability in the red state by assuring voters that he is not hyperpartisan and promising he is not &ldquorunning against&rdquo Trump. If elected, he will grow to be the initial Democrat to win a Senate campaign in the Volunteer State because Al Gore in 1990.


A Harvard graduate worth tens of millions of dollars, Bredesen has touted his enterprise credentials, saying they will assist him win more than &ldquoeconomic Republicans, the much more standard-minded Republicans&quot in November.

He also has received some high-profile assistance of his own. Corker, a Republican and frequent Trump critic, has praised Bredesen in the race, calling him a &quotvery excellent mayor, a really great governor, a extremely good organization particular person.&quot&nbsp

By contrast, Corker has often had harsh words for Trump. In a dramatic moment at a hearing in July, for instance, Corker pressed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to clarify what he characterized as Trump’s &quotpurposeful&quot efforts to sow misinformation and discord.


Corker, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,&nbsphas previously acknowledged his attacks on Trump may well not be endearing him&nbspto a lot of of his constituents.

Tennessee, like its southern neighbors, was after dominated by Democrats. But it hasn’t elected one to statewide office since 2006, and in 2012 Republicans secured supermajorities in each houses for the 1st time since Reconstruction.&nbsp

Voters also decided on nominees for nine Home races on Thursday.

Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn and The Connected Press contributed to this report.

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.

Published at Fri, 03 Aug 2018 02:15:00 +0000

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