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TN-Sen: Marsha Blackburn out fundraises Dem opponent; more polls show her with convincing lead

Rep. Marsha Blackburn out fundraised her opponent, Democrat Phil Bredesen, in the second election quarter this year. She also holds a massive lead in cash on hand. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R), narrowly out fundraised her opponent, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen (D), in the second filing quarter, campaign election filings show.

What are the details?

Blackburn raised $2.61 million in the second quarter — which spanned from April 1 to June 30 — while Bredesen raised $2.43 million during the same period, according to the Tennessean, which received the filings prior to their public release.

But as the Tennessean noted, Bredesen's official number is $4.48 million because he loaned his campaign $2.05 million during the filing period. It is the second time he's infused his campaign with a seven-figure loan. In total, the former governor has loaned his campaign $3.45 million.

In direct donations, which come from individuals and political action committees, Bredesen topped Blackburn, albeit barely. Bredesen secured $2.25 million in direct donations during the second quarter while Blackburn raised $2.24 million in direct donations. When considering only individual contributions, Bredesen raised $2.14 million while Blackburn secured just $1.76 million.

However, Blackburn has a significant advantage in cash on hand.

The pro-Trump congresswoman has $7.6 million in cash on hand while Bredesen has just $3.6 million in the bank. This figure will become increasingly more important ahead of the Nov. 6 election.

Additionally, Bredesen's campaign has outspent Blackburn's. In total, Bredesen has spent $4.5 million of the $8.2 million his campaign has raised, a figure that includes his personal loans. On the other hand, Blackburn has spent just $3 million.

Could Blackburn's fundraising totals be higher?

Yes, but Tennessee's GOP donor base has been reluctant to write big checks for her campaign, according to the Washington Examiner. Donors are weary because Blackburn is seen as a hardline pro-Trump ideologue and much less pragmatic than Corker — or Bredesen.

Tom Cigarran, a top GOP donor in Tennessee, cited Bredesen's pragmaticsm and Blackburn's lack thereof as why he has yet to throw his checkbook behind Blackburn's campaign.

"[Bredesen has] been somebody who is not partisan who gets things done. That appeals to me and to many other Republicans. We want somebody who is not an ideologue and not going to be partisan," he said. "Marsha Blackburn just isn’t that. She does not have a record of doing anything other than being a partisan ideologue."

One source told the Examiner that Corker is going as far as to discourage some of his donor base from donating to Blackburn's campaign.

"Corker supporters are disappointed that Bob didn’t run. It puts them in place where they have to make a decision between a Republican loyalty, as it relates to leadership in Washington, and Phil Bredesen, who they were perfectly comfortable with as mayor and governor," the source said.

What did the campaigns say?

"Tennesseans across the state have generously donated to our campaign as I work to take our shared values to the United States Senate. I am so grateful for their support, because these resources are vital as we work to keep Tennessee red and defeat Hillary Clinton’s ally Phil Bredesen in November," Blackburn said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Bob Corney, Bredesen's campaign manager, said they have momentum on their side.

"This campaign is open to anyone who is tired of partisan bickering and ready to work to get things done for Tennessee. We have more than momentum on our side — we have the strength of a principled campaign that will send Phil Bredesen to the Senate to represent the people of Tennessee," he said, according to the Tennessean.

Anything else?

A new poll, which was commissioned by the Committee to Defend the President, found that 38 percent of Tennesseans favor Blackburn, while just 35 percent support Bredesen, according to the Tennessean. Eleven percent said they were undecided.

Blackburn's lead in the poll has narrowed. In December, the same poll showed her with a nine-point advantage, while she had a five-point advantage in February.

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