The congresswoman defeated Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen by closely aligning her bid with President Donald Trump, who drummed up support for her during three visits to the state that he won by 26 percentage points, including a rally in Chattanooga two days before the election.
Blackburn’s win represents a rightward shift from the GOP senator she will replace, Bob Corker, who fell in line with Tennessee’s historical preference for more-centrist senators and at times was a vocal critic of Trump.
Blackburn worked to undermine Bredesen’s popularity and reputation as an independent thinker by tying him to national Democrats at every turn. She rarely diverged from Trump, and touted his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall and tax cuts while blasting Bredesen’s opposition to both. She backed Brett Kavanaugh for Supreme Court the same day Trump nominated him, and criticized Bredesen for taking so long to say he would have supported Kavanaugh’s confirmation as well.
First elected to the House in 2002, Blackburn aligned with the tea party movement and regularly appeared on Fox News. She opened her campaign by dubbing herself a “hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative.” Before that, she made a name for herself as a state lawmaker who helped lead the revolt against a proposed Tennessee income tax in the early 2000s.
The pricey race set a state record in spending by candidates and outside groups, gaining national interest because of its potential implications for the GOP’s slim majority in the Senate.
Republican businessman and political newcomer Bill Lee will become Tennessee’s next governor, replacing outgoing GOP Gov. Bill Haslam.
Lee won Tuesday’s election against former Democratic Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.
Lee is chairman of a Franklin mechanical contracting, facilities and home services company. His positive campaigning and religious faith became defining characteristics of his election bid, although he’s faced criticism for not providing specific details on key policy positions.
Lee has promised to work to fix the state’s health care system, saying it may take 15 to 20 years. Unlike Dean, the Republican said he would ultimately lobby the Tennessee Legislature to vote against Medicaid expansion, should lawmakers ever get close to doing so.
Lee also says he supports school choice, a position his opponents say will result in school vouchers.
Polls closed at 8 p.m. in Tennessee. Partial results.
Marsha Blackburn (R) 1,185,433 55.78%
Phil Bredesen (D) 910,804 42.85%
Phil Roe (R) 159,224, 76.77%
Martin Olsen (D) 44,307, 21.36%
Michael Salyer (I) 3,867, 1.86%
Bill Lee (R) 1,239,083, 60.76%
Karl Dean (D) 765,669, 37.55%
7th House District
Matthew Hill (R) 13,226 66.46%
Nathan Farnor (D) 6,676 33.54%
6th House District
Micah Van Huss (R) 13,226, 66.35%
Murphey Johnson (I) 6,676 33.49
4th House District
John B. Holsclaw (R) unopposed 17,645, 100.00%
3rd House District
Timothy Hill (R) unopposed 18,449, 100.00%
3rd Senate District
Rusty Crowe (R) unopposed 50,189, 100.00%
City Commission (Elect 2)
David Adams 4,687, 15.55%
*Jenny Brock 12,028, 39.91%
Jeff Clark 3,736, 12.40%
William “Bud” Hill 3,294, 10.93%
*John Hunter 6,224 20.65%
Board of Education Unexpired Term (Elect 1)
Kenneth “Herb” Greenlee 8,101 48.82%
Paula Treece 8,421 50.75%
Board of Education (Elect 4)
*Tom Hager 12,306, 24.94%
*Kathy Hall 13,20,2 26.75%
*Michelle Treece 12,368, 25.06%
*Robert Williams 11,207, 22.71%
*Chuck Vest unopposed 1,715 97.61%
Aldermen (Elect 2)
*Stephen Callahan 1,344 38.96%
*Virginia C. Causey 1254 36.35%
Charlie B. Moore 8,40 24.35%
City Council (Elect 4)
*Richard Barker 2,621
*William “Bill” Carter 2,623
*Wes Frazier 2,162
*Michael Simerly 2,345
Richard Tester 1,825
Board of Education (Elect 2)
*Eddie Pless 2,536
*Danny O’Quinn 1,989
Tyler Fleming 1,270
Susan Peters 1,335
Board of Mayor and Aldermen (Elect 3)
* Michael Baker 892
* Gary Chandler 864
* Mark E. Lafever 1279
Virgil Moore 630
Timothy H Shelton 461
Stephen Wilson 497
Unicoi Unofficial results
Board of Mayor and Aldermen (Elect 2)
Debbie Bennett 369
* Kathy Bullen 577
Roger Cooper 486
* Wanda Wilson Radford 534
Charlene L. Thomas 470
U.S. House 350 of 361 precincts
H. Morgan Griffith (R) 160,503 65.25%
Anthony J. Flaccavento (D) 85,274 34.67%
U.S. Senate 2,530 precincts of 2,567
Corey A. Stewart (R) 1,299,897 42.01%
Timothy M. Kaine (D) 1,732,080 55.98%
Matt J. Waters (L) 58,122 1.88%