NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- Big money is already flowing into Tennessee hoping to influence who wins the state’s junior U.S. Senate seat being vacated this fall by Bob Corker.
You’ve probably already seen the TV ads being aired by political action committees (PACs) for Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen.
Longtime mid-state political analyst and Middle Tennessee State PoliSci Professor Kent Syler says the ads are a blueprint for the campaign strategies the two candidates plan to employ this fall.
“The Bredesen ad is all about Tennessee, Tennessee, Tennessee. The Blackburn ad is all about Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump.”
Professor Syler says Bredesen will try to keep voters focused on his record as governor (2003-2011), while Blackburn will try to paint her opponent as a threat to GOP control of the Senate and President Trump’s agenda.
Tennessee remains a strongly Republican state, but Syler says polls of likely voters suggest Bredesen does have a chance to win the Senate seat for Democrats. He says that possibility means millions in ad dollars from outside the state will be spent here over the coming weeks.
“When you look at the state-by-state races for the United State Senate, Democrats need to flip some Republican seats, and Tennessee is one of those they hope to flip.”
So far the Blackburn and Bredesen ads have been upbeat and positive, but Professor Syler says you can already see the candidates laying the groundwork for the negative attack ads to come.
He says Bredesen is gearing up to paint Blackburn as a Washington insider who has contributed to the political gridlock. Blackburn is preparing to label Bredesen as just another tax and spend Democrat.