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TN-Sen: Critical race intensifies as Dem Bredesen hits back at 'flat-out lies,' targets Blackburn

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The two candidates fighting for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee — Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn — are heating up their race and trading new barbs. (Image source: YouTube screenshot)

With just two months before the November midterms, the race for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) is heating up as the leading candidates — Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn — jockey for position in one of this year’s most critical races.

What’s going on?

The race intensified last week after Americans for Prosperity, a political advocacy group funded by the Koch brothers, dropped a $2 million ad buy in the Volunteer State. The ad attacked Bredesen for increasing taxes during his tenure as Tennessee governor.

Many of the ad's claims are reportedly embellished, but the campaign will likely prove effective. After all, in an overwhelmingly pro-Trump state, Tennesseans want lower taxes. That means any suggestion that Bredesen is not interested in lowering his constituents' tax burden is a mark against him.

Appearances are important in campaigns. So it took just one day for Bredesen to fire back with an ad of his own.

Instead of launching a broadside against his opponent, Bredesen attempted to debunk the claims against him and mostly steered clear of attacking his opponent, posturing himself as a Washington outsider while drawing attention to Blackburn's nearly two decade career in Congress.

"Have you seen [AFP's] ad? It's full of flat-out lies. First, Andrea and I never even lived in the governor's residence. We stayed in our own home while the residence was restored for future governors," Bredesen says in the ad. "Second, I never raised either the gas tax or the sales tax."

"Congresswoman Blackburn, you’ve been in Washington 16 years now and frankly this ad shows it," he adds. "We need some fresh air up there. And I’m applying for the job."

How did Blackburn's campaign respond?

Abbi Sigler, the campaign's spokeswoman, told the media: "Phil Bredesen has been running for office since Marsha was a senior in high school."

She also criticized Bredesen for being "bought and paid for" by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), an attack Republicans have routinely used against Bredesen. His campaign, however, denies that he is anyone's puppet. Instead, Bredesen will serve his constituents — not party politics — if elected, his campaign says.

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