The two candidates hoping to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker, squared off Tuesday night in the first of two televised debates. Democrat Phil Bredesen, who has served as the mayor of Nashville and governor of Tennessee, clashed with Republican Williamson County congresswoman Marsha Blackburn in a fiery debate Tuesday night.
The debate took place at Cumberland University in Lebanon, Tennessee and was moderated by News Channel 5 anchor Rhori Johnston and Tennessean editor David Plazas.
During the debate, Blackburn, who is a staunch supporter of President Trump, repeatedly tied Bredesen to Democrats, saying that he would vote with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in the Senate, and criticizing him for his support for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
Bredesen instead focused on his independence.
“This idea that somehow your party affiliation, whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, ought to determine everything about how you think about things and how you approach things is one of the things that are crazily wrong with it,” he said. “I will not be voting for Chuck Schumer.”
Bredesen also criticized both parties for the handling of the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh.
In a tight race, most polls show Bredesen with a narrow lead over Blackburn. To help tip the scales, President Trump is scheduled to visit Tennessee on Monday to campaign for Blackburn.