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VOL. 42 | NO. 28 | Friday, July 13, 2018
Bredesen, Blackburn raise millions in Senate race
NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn narrowly outraised Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen last quarter and maintains a 2-to-1 cash advantage against him in the open U.S. Senate contest in Tennessee, according to totals released by the campaigns.
The campaign finance numbers show an early multimillion-dollar price tag on a contest expected to cost tens of millions more, while attracting additional spending by outside groups. The race to succeed Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who is retiring, is considered a crucial one in the fight for control of the Senate, where Republicans hold a 51-49 majority.
From April through June, Blackburn's campaign says she raised more than $2.6 million, spent almost $1.2 million and finished with more than $7.3 million in cash remaining.
Over that period, Bredesen's campaign says he raised more than $2.4 million, but also boosted his campaign with a personal loan of $2 million-plus, bringing his total amount loaned to about $3.5 million for the race.
Bredesen spent about $2.6 million last quarter and ended with almost $3.7 million left, according to the campaign.
That puts Bredesen's total spending since entering the race in December at almost $4.6 million, compared to $3.1 million by Blackburn. Bredesen has started running TV ads, but Blackburn has not.
Blackburn's Senate campaign also has benefited from reserves she built up as a House member: She reported having $3.2 million cash remaining in her House account just days before she announced her Senate bid in October.
Both campaigns said their fundraising hauls, which they announced ahead of their official campaign finance filings, put them a position of strength heading toward an expected November showdown. Neither has major opposition during the Aug. 2 primary.
In a memo Monday, Bredesen campaign manager Bob Corney said the team feels good about where it stands, but knows it will be a competitive race. He pointed to recent comments by Blackburn campaign strategist Ward Baker last week to Republicans in Nashville, in which he said the race will be "death by 10,000 cuts."
"This race will not be won by death by a thousand cuts," Baker said at the meeting. "It's going to be death by ten thousand cuts. But at the end of the day, the oxygen will be taken out of the room, and (Bredesen) will not survive come election night."
Baker also said that, for the Republicans who don't support Blackburn, he'll "do everything in my power to make sure that they have trouble living in the future," a comment that drew laughs from the Republicans in the room.
Corney wrote that the campaign asked online donors to match the 10,000 cuts with $10,000 — and hundreds chipped in more than $75,000 in 48 hours.
With Baker's comments, Corney said the Blackburn campaign "is resorting to fear-mongering and scare tactics typical of the Washington swamp."