Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by retiring Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) on Thursday.
Blackburn explained why she is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate in this three minute video posted on her campaign website:
“The United States Senate . . . it’s totally dysfunctional, and it’s enough to drive you nuts, and that’s why I’ve decided to do something about it,” Blackburn says at the beginning of the video.
I’m Marsha Blackburn. I’m a hard core, card carrying Tennessee conservative. I’m politically incorrect, and proud of it.
So, let me just say it like it is: The fact that our Republican majority in the U.S. Senate can’t overturn Obamacare, or will not overturn Obamacare. It’s a disgrace.
Too many Senate Republicans act like Democrats. Or worse. And that’s what we have to change.
Here in Tennessee, I fought my own party to stop a massive, job killing, state income tax. And we stopped it. We won.
Blackburn, a former Chairman of the Williamson County Republican Party, was elected to the Tennessee State Senate in 1998. It was there that she led the successful efforts to stop Republican Gov. Don Sundquist’s proposal to impose a state income tax in the Volunteer State.
In 2002, she broke through a crowded field of a half a dozen men running for the GOP nomination to represent Tennessee’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives using the campaign theme “Marsha’s our Man.”
She has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2002, and has never had a close election since.
While in the House, she has regularly been among the most conservative members of the Tennessee delegation, according to Heritage Action Scorecard voting record ratings.
In the current session of Congress, Blackburn’s 88 percent rating by Heritage Action Scorecard makes her the second most conservative member of the Tennessee delegation, and significantly more conservative than the average Republican member of Congress, who receives a 65 percent rating.
Blackburn has been one of the most visible supporters of President Trump in Congress, a position that is very popular among Tennessee Republican primary voters, who give the president high approval ratings. In 2016, Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the state by a 61 percent to 35 percent margin, winning 92 of the state’s 95 counties.
Williamson County Republican Party Chairman Debbie Deavers issued the following statement about Blackburn’s announcement:
Congressman Marsha Blackburn has represented the residents of our county with distinction for the last 14 years. As a longtime member of the Williamson County Republican Party’s Chairman’s Circle and former Chairman herself, she is well-known and well-liked in our county. We wish Congressman Blackburn all the best and look forward to seeing her on the campaign trail across Tennessee.
Blackburn’s announcement comes at the end of a whirlwind 16 days that have seen the Tennessee Republican establishment’s hold on power in the state shaken to the core.
On September 26, Senator Corker announced his sudden retirement from the U.S. Senate, one day after Breitbart News reported on his $3 million sweetheart deal in a Mobile, Alabama retail center, McGowin Park, in which he receives sales tax incentive rebates from Alabama taxpayers.
Earlier on Thursday, Corker’s friend and ally, Gov. Bill Haslam, announced that he would not be a candidate for the U.S. Senate. The announcement came after a series of articles published at Breitbart News that pointed out the political vulnerabilities Haslam would have in such a run.
Blackburn is now the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate in the 2018 primary in Tennessee.
So far, Andy Ogles, former head of the Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity, is the only other Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate nomination.
That is likely to change, however, as the Tennessee Republican establishment, which still holds a grudge against Blackburn for her role in stopping the state income tax in 2000, is unlikely to allow Blackburn an uncontested path to the United States Senate.