Tennessee Senate Race: Call It What You Want, but Tennessee Is a Red Wall to the South
Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker announced his retirement in 2017, adding Tennessee’s 2018 Senate race to the list of significant midterm contests. For Democrats, it offered an opportunity to flip a seat, to increase the odds of a Senate majority, and to test the geographical dominance of the Republican Party in the South. For Republicans, the open contest gave hardline conservatives a chance to win a state that had been a holdout against the tea party wave that had swept other southern states, and for the party to maintain its majority status in the U.S. Senate. Democrats ran former Governor Phil Bredesen—the only Democrat to win a statewide contest in Tennessee since 1996. Republicans countered with “congressman” Marsha Blackburn, an eight-term conservative and Trump loyalist. Blackburn’s victory further cemented the Volunteer State’s status as a southern Republican stronghold.