Photo courtesy of Bredesen for Senate
By ALEXANDER WILLIS
Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate and former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen visited the Elliston Place Soda Shop in Franklin to meet and speak with his supporters.
Bredesen announced his intentions last December to run for U.S. Senate, after current senator Bob Corker announced he would not be seeking reelection last September. Bredesen’s main opponent in the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee is Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn, who just received praise and support from Vice President Mike Pence after a visit to the Chattanooga area on Saturday.
The event at the soda shop saw hundreds pouring in, to which Bredesen commented that the turnout was “amazing.”
“[Washington is] full of a lot of people who just love to tell the rest of us all how to live our lives,” Bredesen said during his speech at the event. “What I’d like to do is turn that upside-down and turn it into something where we all tell them what’s important to us, and put them to work making those kinds of things happen.”
Bredesen stressed the importance of not succumbing to ‘hyper-partisanship,’ saying he would take any particular issue on a case-by-case, non-partisan basis.
“I just think it’s so important to get back to what we used to be able to do in this country; which is make some compromises and move some things forward, and get some things done… just use a little common sense,” Bredesen said. “That’s what you have to do in your families, that’s what you have to do in businesses, and they need to do the same in Washington.”
Tennessee voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump during the 2016 election, with a popular vote of more than 1.5 million, compared to Hillary Clinton’s 870,000. Bredesen also spoke of his thoughts on Trump voters during his speech.
“They’re not racist, they’re not crazy, they’re not stupid,” Bredesen said about those who voted for Trump. “They’re just some of these people who were looking at what was going on in Washington, and getting completely frustrated about it having any bearing on the things that were important in their own lives, and I think they just tried to throw a long-ball and tried for something different.”
“I understand your concerns,” Bredesen said to Trump voters. “I respect the culture, which is a little different in these rural areas, but let me show you some better ways of going about that than building a thousand-mile wall with Mexico, or slapping tariffs on everything under the sun.”
Tennessee has not had a Democratic representative in the U.S. Senate since 1995, after Senator Jim Sasser left office. With polling data showing Bredesen and Blackburn extremely close, this race has garnered national attention.
“If you expect me to pay you back, you’ll probably be disappointed,” Bredesen said during the end of his speech. “I plan to pay you forward, by being the best damn senator Tennessee ever sent to Washington.”