Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman, was elected to the U.S. Senate on Tuesday night. Blackburn defeated former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in a hotly contested race that was viewed by many analysts to be a toss-up heading into election day. Fox News called the race for Blackburn at 9:04 p.m. Eastern time.
The race between Blackburn and Bredesen was neck and neck, with Bredesen even leading in multiple polls, up until the battle over the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh took center stage. The September fight to confirm Kavanaugh significantly boosted Blackburn, who took her first lead in the RealClearPolitics polling average in early October.
Bredesen, a Democrat who served as the governor of Tennessee from 2003 through 2011, was pilloried by ads tying him to unpopular Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the House and Senate Democratic leaders, respectively. Blackburn, meanwhile, hitched her horse to President Donald Trump, who won the Volunteer State by 26 points in 2016.
Republican Bill Lee, a Republican farmer and businessman from Franklin, Tennessee, easily won the state’s governor race. Several networks called that race almost immediately after polls closed in Tennessee. By a significant margin, voters picked Lee to succeed Republican Bill Haslam as governor. A first-time candidate for political office, Lee bested two wealthy and experienced politicians in the GOP primary by running predominantly positive ads about himself rather than attacking his opponents, a strategy he continued into the general election.