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Powerful Republicans coalesce around Tennessee's Marsha Blackburn for important Senate race
Powerful Republicans, including President Donald Trump and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, are coalescing around Rep. Marsha Blackburn, to ensure she retains GOP control of an important Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker's impending retirement. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Powerful Republicans coalesce around Tennessee's Marsha Blackburn for important Senate race

As the race for the Tennessee Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker (R) heats up, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the leading Republican in the race, is winning over the support of powerful Republicans, including President Donald Trump and Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam.

Corker, long drawn to the idea of being a "citizen legislator," announced his intention to retire from politics last September.

What are the details?

Trump is set to headline a fundraiser for Blackburn on May 29 in Nashville, the Tennessean reported last week. However, the fundraiser will be very costly for those planning to attend. General admission tickets begin at $2,700, while a two-person table will setback couples a pretty $44,300.

"We are honored to have the President's support and look forward to welcoming him to the campaign trail with us," Blackburn's campaign told the Tennessean.

Trump voiced his support for Blackburn last month on Twitter, writing Blackburn is a "wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her."

"She has my full endorsement and I will be there to campaign with her!" he wrote.

Meanwhile, Blackburn also has the full support of Haslam. He is hosting a fundraiser event for the congresswoman on Thursday in West Knox County, according to Knox News.

Why is this race important?

National observers are closely watching this Senate race. For Republicans to maintain their majority in the Senate, the GOP will need to retain control of this Senate seat.

Thirty-three seats are up for grabs in the Senate this election cycle, 23 of them belonging to incumbent Democrats, eight to incumbent Republicans and the other two to incumbent independents. The GOP cannot afford to lose a single seat.

Given that Trump won 92 of 95 voting districts in Tennessee during the 2016 presidential election, logic says a GOP victory in November is a no-brainer.

Unfortunately for Republicans, though, the race is expected to be very tight. The leading Democrat widely expected to win the Democratic primary is former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, a moderate who has crossover appeal.

In fact, recent polling shows Blackburn is at a distinct disadvantage.

A survey from Middle Tennessee State University showed last month that Bredesen currently holds a double-digit lead over her. The poll found that 45 percent of registered voters currently support Bredesen, while just 35 percent support Blackburn. The remaining 17 percent of respondents told MTSU surveyors they were undecided.

The Republican and Democratic primary for the race will be held on Aug. 2. Only three Republicans have declared to run, with Blackburn as the favorite, while just two Democrats have declared intentions to run, with Bredesen being a virtual lock.

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