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Phil Bredesen’s Last-Minute Statement on Kavanaugh Hurting Him in Tennessee with Far Left Base

Phil Bredesen
AP Photo/Mark Humphrey

Former Gov. Phil Bredesen’s last-minute statement on Friday that he would vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court has cost him votes among his far left base in Tennessee.

The statement by the Democrat nominee for the U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee was made on the last day a CBS Poll was in the field (from October 2 to October 5). That poll shows him losing to his Republican opponent, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), by eight points, 50 percent to 42 percent. It also came one day before Kavanaugh was confirmed by the Senate, and two days before pop star Taylor Swift endorsed him over Blackburn in the November race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) in the U.S. Senate.

The CBS Poll showed the Republican crossover on which he has been counting is already in decline, a function of his inability to separate himself from the far left policies and actions of Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who recruited him to run for the Senate seat.

Last month, Bredesen declared that, if elected, he would not vote for Chuck Schumer as leader of the Democrats in the Senate. That statement was met with widespread derision in Tennessee, given the close relationship the two men have and the fact that Schumer’s PAC has spent millions of dollars to support his candidacy.

Bredesen’s handling of the Kavanaugh nomination has not helped his cause.

In contrast to Blackburn, who announced her steadfast support for Kavanaugh from the day President Trump nominated him to the Supreme Court on July 9, Bredesen has maintained radio silence on where he stood on Kavanaugh’s nomination–and the unfair smears and “search and destroy” tactics deployed by Senate Democrats–during the months of July, August, and September.

In his statement on Friday, Bredesen said,”I was prepared to say ‘yes’ to his nomination prior to Dr. Ford’s coming forward. While the subsequent events make it a much closer call, and I am missing key pieces of information that a sitting Senator has, I’m still a ‘yes.’ ”

Bredesen made no mention of the unfair treatment Kavanaugh received at the hands of Senate Democrats during the confirmation process. Instead, he claimed that Kavanaugh’s accuser, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, had been treated unfairly by the Senate:

Dr. Ford is a heroine, and has brought forcefully into the national conversation the many barriers women face in reporting and dealing with sexual harassment and assault. I was disgusted by the treatment she received at the hands of the Senate and am determined to help bring about a fairer and far more respectful treatment of these issues.

The former governor’s attempts to thread the needle on the Kavanaugh nomination has fallen short on both sides of the aisle, but particularly among far left Democrats, as the Chattanooga Times FreePress reported that late Friday:

Chattanoogan Randy Price [a Democrat], who is running in Tennessee’s state Senate District 11 contest in Hamilton County, called Bredesen’s announcement “disappointing” in a tweet and soon followed up with a far sharper jab:

“So you are saying lying to the Senate and serious partisanship aren’t disqualifying?” Price said of Bredesen’s stance on Kavanaugh, who had angrily denied allegations of sexual improprieties while in high school and college from three women, including Ford. “You need to rethink your position or job application.”

Price’s “job application” dig was a reference to a frequent Bredesen video ad tagline in which he says “I’m applying for the job.”

Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini issued a statement, hours after being contacted by a Times Free Press reporter, in which she said: “Let me be clear: We stand with the survivors of sexual assault and abuse.

“Today, Governor Bredesen released a disappointing statement based on imperfect and limited information as a result of a flawed and secretive process,” Mancini added.

Sunday’s announcement by Swift that she is endorsing Bredesen is viewed in Tennessee as an attempt by Bredesen’s allies to bury his support for Judge Kavanaugh in the memory hole and restore enthusiasm for his candidacy among his far left base.

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