Sparks fly during Blackburn, Bredesen debate

Published: Sep. 25, 2018 at 8:48 PM EDT
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Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen have closed out their first debate in their U.S. Senate race in Tennessee.

Sparks started in the beginning of the debate when Congressman Blackburn called Bredesen's campaign "bought and paid for by Chuck Schumer."

Bredesen later fired back by mentioning Blackburn's anti-ACA votes, comparing her to Congressmen who get top of the line health care but vote to take it away from Tennesseans.

Bredesen and Blackburn debated for an hour Tuesday, taking questions on health care, President Donald Trump's administration and tariffs.

The two candidates briefly agreed, saying they opposed Trump's move to increase trade tariffs on certain goods. Both claimed that the decision hurt Tennessee farmers and businesses.

However, Blackburn - who has been quick to point out her allegiance to Trump since she began running for the Senate - said she understood where Trump was coming from. She says China had been waging a trade war against the U.S. for decades.

Bredesen said he wished Trump would stop "cozying" up to countries like China and Russia, and instead, he said, not damage relationships with countries that have long been U.S. allies.


6 p.m.

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Phil Bredesen says he would not vote for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer should he beat Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in November.

Bredesen, a former Tennessee governor, made the promise during a debate Tuesday while criticizing the overall leadership in Congress, explaining he will continue to think for himself if elected to the Senate.

This is the first debate between the two candidates, which has attracted national attention after incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican, announced he would not seek re-election. The race could be pivotal for the slim 51-49 Republican Senate majority.

Blackburn kicked off the debate by criticizing Bredesen's opposition to the federal tax cut, arguing that the cuts are working to benefit people across Tennessee.


3:15 a.m.

Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen are set to face off in their first debate in a critical race for U.S. Senate in Tennessee.

The two rivals will debate Tuesday evening at Cumberland University in Lebanon. Hosts include The Tennessean, the League of Women Voters of Tennessee, WTVF-TV and WNPT-TV. The event will be broadcast live.

The race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker could be pivotal for the slim 51-49 Republican Senate majority.

A second debate has also been confirmed for Oct. 10 at the University of Tennessee's Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy in Knoxville.

You can watch the full debate below, or visit the

for more coverage.

U.S. Senate Debate

LIVE: The U.S. Senate race debate between Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former Governor Phil Bredesen is underway. Learn more:

Posted by NewsChannel 5 Nashville on Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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