Bradshaw hoping to play spoiler in race with Trump ally Hagerty for Tennessee U.S. Senate seat

Duo vying for seat left open by Senator Lamar Alexander
Published: Oct. 26, 2020 at 11:40 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - It is just over a week away from election day 2020. Among the high-profile races across the country is the bid to replace outgoing Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN). Democratic candidate Marquita Bradshaw is working to turn the seat blue as Trump ally Bill Hagerty goes into the home stretch with the support of the Republican Party.

“The balance of power in the Senate, the majority, is a narrow margin right now and we’re taking nothing for granted,” said Hagerty.

He is hoping to step in for Alexander who is stepping away after 17 years in office, and many more decades of public service to the state. While Hagerty says he respects Alexander’s legacy, he is not trying to be his carbon copy.

“Let me be clear - I’m not going to fulfill anybody’s legacy, I’m not going to fill anybody’s shoes. I am going to be my own legislator and I’m going to serve the people of Tennessee as best I possibly can,” said Hagerty.

Forecasters are not predicting a Democratic upset, but Bradshaw is hoping to prove them wrong as the first black female major party candidate running for US Senate in Tennessee. Bradshaw touts her grassroots campaign as opposed to having the backing of a big political machine.

“We have welcomed 1.1 million new voters into this political process and so that changes things. We are working hard to make sure that hard working families have a true voice in the United States Senate,” said Bradshaw.

Tennessee had the same two senators from 2007 until 2019. This year the state is voting in a new senator for the second time in two years.

“It’s really going to give us, potentially two senators that are pretty far to the right,” said Rich Pacelle, a political expert from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Pacelle says Bradshaw may fare well in the big cities like Nashville and Memphis, but he still sees her door knocking bid as a longshot.

Even as polls show President Trump losing popularity nationally, Pacelle says it is still safe for Hagerty to attach himself to the president in this particular state. But Pacelle says depending on the election outcome, Hagerty may revert back to his old moderate ways when he was Mitt Romney’s finance chair in 2008.

“The question is, you know, where do things go afterwards. Assuming he wins and, if the polls are right, that Trump loses, you know, what happens there?” said Pacelle.

Early voting has already begun in Tennessee.

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