Rough governor's race highlights Tennessee primary election - 8/2/2018 12:51:36 PM

Signs signs everywhere there's signs at a polling location in Nashville during the early voting period

Signs signs everywhere there's signs at a polling location in Nashville during the early voting period. Chas Sisk WPLN

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean won the Democratic primary, defeating state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh after outspending him $4.4 million to $984,800.

At her primary victory party Thursday, Blackburn said Tennesseans want someone who will support the president and help him finish the agenda they elected him to implement. Senate group seeks new Russian Federation sanctions Watchdog files Hatch Act violation complaints against 10 Trump administration officials MORE had endorsed Black in the primary, but Trump had remained out of the governor's race.

Voters made it official Thursday. Polls have shown a close contest for the seat now held by retiring Republican Sen.

In the election for governor, a candidate will replace Republican Governor Bill Haslam who was blocked from running for a third term due to term limits.

The race holds major implications for Democrats' chances for overturning the 51-49 Republican Senate majority.

Bredesen's bid could breathe life into a depleted Democratic Party in Tennessee that hasn't won statewide in more than a decade - not since he did it himself in his 2006 re-election bid.

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Last week, Vice President Mike Pence endorsed Black, who could become the state's first female governor if she wins in November.

"Congressman David Kustoff has been a champion for the Trump Agenda -- I greatly appreciate his support", the President tweeted.

Taking a page from Bredesen's playbook, Dean has touted himself as a leader who can break down partisan barriers and make divided government work during divisive political times.

And finally candidate Dean addressed the media, where Julie inquired as to his interest in addressing social issues such as LGBT rights in the run-up to November's election. He mostly stayed out of the fray while other opponents savaged each other in attack ads.

He thanked his supporters Thursday night and vowed to be "the best damn senator you ever sent up to Washington".

Each candidate has been heaping praise on Trump and attacking the others as insufficiently loyal to the president.

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Bredesen has walked a careful line throughout the campaign, saying he would support Trump on policies that are good for Tennessee and oppose him on those that aren't.

Blackburn could become the first female US senator elected by Tennessee voters. She and former Gov. Phil Bredesen, who won the state's Democratic primary on Thursday, have long looked past the primaries to their upcoming general election matchup.

Bredesen, who remains popular, would again need to peel off support from moderate Republicans and independents.

Blackburn has billed herself as a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative" from the outset of her campaign.

With the race wide open, the spending on the Republican side was astronomical.

Heading into July, Blackburn maintained an early 2-to-1 cash advantage over Bredesen, with $7.3 million in her bank account.

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