President Trump holds MAGA rally in Johnson City

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (AP/WVLT) - President Donald Trump is barnstorming for the Republican Senate candidate locked in a tight race in Tennessee.

The president appeared at a rally in Johnson City to support U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is facing Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen. They are competing for the seat currently held by retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

Trump declared that Blackburn would be a "true fighter" for Tennessee while her opponent, if elected, could make Democrat Chuck Schumer the new Senate majority leader. Republicans hold a narrow 51-49 advantage in the Senate and are trying to hold onto their majority.

"I think a lot of the problem in Washington is with the leadership we have there now," Bredesen said during the first senate debate. "Whether it be Ryan, or Pelosi, or McConnell, or Schumer. They're not doing their job. We need to get new leadership, and I can tell you right now that if I'm elected and when I'm elected and go to Washington, I am not going to be voting for Chuck Schumer."

As the prospects of the GOP keeping the House of Representatives appear to be fading, the president has accelerated his campaigning in support of Republican Senate candidates in recent weeks.

President Donald Trump is attacking Senate Democrats who questioned the integrity of his Supreme Court nominee.

Trump, at a rally in Tennessee on Monday, declared the Democrats were trying to slow down the FBI probe into allegations of sexual misconduct against Judge Brett Kavanaugh.

The president said, "If we took 10 years, they'd want more time."

He says the Democrats are undermining Kavanaugh's credibility and are "willing to do anything or hurt anyone" to submarine his agenda. Kavanaugh has denied claims from multiple women, including one who testified that he pinned her against a bed, groped her and tried to take her clothes off when they were in high school.

He singled out a number of rumored 2020 presidential opponents for criticism, including Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump is headlining a closed-door fundraiser for Blackburn in Johnson City before he appears at a packed rally at the Freedom Hall Civic Center.

Couples have paid $10,000 to attend and take a photo with Trump, and $25,000 to participate in a round table with the president, according to the invitation.

Blackburn is in a tight race against the state's Democratic ex-Gov. Phil Bredesen to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker.

It's among several races expected to determine control of the Senate, where Republicans are desperate to defend a narrow two-seat majority in the face of surging Democratic enthusiasm.

Trump is planning a busy week of campaign travel, with trips to a handful of states including Mississippi, Minnesota and Kansas as he tries to boost Republican turnout for the midterm elections.

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