PHOTO: President Donald J. Trump enters the Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 for a rally for Congressman Marsha Blackburn, running for U.S. Senate. / Brooke Wanser
By BROOKE WANSER
President Donald Trump brought a storm with him Tuesday night during his third visit to Nashville in the past 14 months.
Some event attendees gathered the day before, through stormy weather outside Nashville’s Municipal Auditorium, to attend the rally Trump held in support of in support of U.S. Congressman Marsha Blackburn, who is running for retiring Sen. Bob Corker’s seat.
The rally followed a private fundraising event for Blackburn, which included couple’s tickets for a private roundtable with the president for $44,300 and general reception tickets for couples at $2,700.
Inside the auditorium, at a few hundred seats shy of capacity, several thousand attendees in red, white and blue garb cheered as Republican politicians spoke glowingly about Trump and Blackburn.
Blackburn began her political career in Middle Tennessee by founding the Williamson County Young Republicans, then chairing the county Republican party from 1989 to 1991.
After her 1998 election to the state senate in the 23rd District, Blackburn was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in Tennessee’s 7th District.
Her Democratic challenger is Phil Bredesen, the mayor of Nashville from 1991-99 and state governor from 2003 through 2010.
Tennessee’s 7th District includes an oddly shaped swath of Middle Tennessee, from Clarksville south through Franklin and Columbia down to the Alabama border.
Justin Kanew, a Democrat from College Grove, and state Sen. Mark Green, a Republican in the 22nd District, will duke it out for Blackburn’s empty seat.
Matt Reel, a Democratic challenger from Hickman County, is also in the mix, though he has been largely absent from the campaign due to a current military deployment.
At the rally, Green spoke to the crowd, touching briefly on issues of gun rights, immigration, governmental overreach while praising Trump and Blackburn.
Recurring themes from various Republican politicians included emphasis on building a wall at the border, positive changes under Trump, and re-electing Republican leaders.
Country music star Trace Adkins performed a patriotic song in honor of fallen soldiers and military veterans, before launching into “Ladies Love Country Boys,” which he said Trump requested for his daughter, Ivanka.
— Brooke Wanser (@Bwanser_writes) May 30, 2018
As Trump took the stage, he greeted the crowd, “Do we love Nashville? Do we love Tennessee?”
He introduced Blackburn, who spoke briefly before Trump continued, calling her “a great woman.”
Trump then disparaged Bredesen, asking, “Who is he? I’ve never heard of him,” describing the businessman and politician as “very liberal” and a “tool.”
In attendance at the event were gubernatorial candidates Rep. Diane Black, Speaker of the House Beth Harwell, and Bill Lee.
Trump spoke at the rally for just over an hour, largely focusing on consequences for illegal immigration and building a border wall, as well as record lows in the national unemployment rate, while skirting mention of the record mass shootings on American soil in 2018.
“You have to get out,” he urged potential voters. “We need Marsha Blackburn to win. And it’s going to be a very special time.”
For more detailed coverage including photos and videos, visit @BWanser_writes on Twitter for live tweets from the rally.