Stephen Fincher

Primary Threat Targets One of Two Jewish Republicans in the House
Tennessee‘s David Kustoff is being outspent more than 2-to-1

Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff, above, is facing a primary from perennial candidate George Flinn in the 8th District on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The next test of President Donald Trump’s endorsement power will come in Tennessee, where a little-known freshman — one of two Jewish Republicans in the House —  is being outspent more than 2-to-1 ahead of Thursday’s primary. 

Rep. David Kustoff earned the president’s backing in a tweet Friday — less than a week before the 8th District primary against perennial GOP candidate George Flinn, a radiologist and radio station owner who’s almost entirely self-funding his campaign. (A third candidate dropped out and endorsed Flinn, but her name will still appear on the primary ballot.)

Tennessee Republicans Spar Over Trump Loyalty in Race to Replace Black
Winner of Aug. 2 GOP primary in 6th District likely heading to Congress

The two leading Republican candidates in Tennessee’s open 6th District are each arguing they’d be the strongest defender of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The script is predictable by now. 

A Republican primary in an open seat that’s assured to stay red in November? The candidates are going to talk about how much they love President Donald Trump and how much their opponents don’t.

Tennessee’s Sen. Bob Corker Decides Against Running
Corker had said he was listening to encouragement to reconsider

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters before the Senate Policy luncheons in the Capitol on January 9, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, will not run for re-election after all, sticking with his decision last fall to retire at the end of this Congress. 

"Over the past several months, Senator Corker has been encouraged by people across Tennessee and in the Senate to reconsider his decision not to seek re-election. Based on the outpouring of support, we spent the last few days doing our due diligence and a clear path for re-election was laid out," chief of staff Todd Womack said in a Tuesday statement. 

Corker ‘Listening’ to Encouragement to Reconsider Senate Race
Blackburn campaign blasts ‘ego-driven, tired old men’

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed he’s been “encouraged” to rethink his decision to retire at the end of this term. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A spokesperson for Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker confirmed Tuesday night the Foreign Relations Committee Chairman is “listening” to pleas to reconsider his decision not to seek a third term.

“In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda,” spokeswoman Micah Johnson said in a statement.

Blackburn Announces $2 Million Haul
Has $4.62 in cash on hand

Reps. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., and Steve King, R-Iowa, are seen outside a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol last month. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn is set to report she raised $2 million since she announced her candidacy for Tennessee’s Senate seat. 

Blackburn’s campaign also announced that the average donation for her campaign was $341. 

Opinion: Democrats’ Picks to Repeat Alabama Upset in the South
Some feel good about their chances in the 2018 midterms

Alabama Sen.-elect Doug Jones will be one of only two Democratic senators to represent states in a Republican-red swath from Texas to North Carolina. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

When Doug Jones defeated Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race last week, Jones became the first Democrat to be elected statewide there since 2006. When he is sworn into the Senate a few weeks from now, he will notice he’s not like the others, since he and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida will be the only two Democrats to represent states in a deep red swath of the Deep South from Texas to North Carolina.

But a combination of the Jones victory, along with a group of unusually promising candidates and a polarizing president in the White House, has Democrats in the South feeling genuinely decent about their chances in the 2018 midterm elections. They’re not exactly whistling Dixie, but they are humming a different tune for once.

Ratings Update: Tennessee Senate Remains Solid R for Now
Democrats may still have uphill battle, even with Bredesen

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. (Courtesy the American Academy of Arts and Sciences)

Democrats made a big splash this week with the entry of former Gov. Phil Bredesen into the Tennessee Senate race, but the party still has an uphill battle in a state President Donald Trump won convincingly, and it’s not even clear Bredesen gives Democrats the best chance of winning.

On the surface, having a former two-term governor running for an open seat (GOP Sen. Bob Corker is not running for re-election) looks like a great takeover opportunity for Democrats, but there are some signs that the race should still be considered a long shot.

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen Running for Senate in Tennessee
Democrats already have an Iraq War veteran in the open-seat race

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said his experience prepares him to “fix the mess in Washington” in announcing his campaign for retiring Sen. Bob Corker’s seat. (Bredesen for Senate via YouTube)

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen is running for the open Senate seat in Tennessee. 

“I’m running for the Senate because I have the right kind of experience, and the actual track record that it will take to start working across party lines to fix the mess in Washington,” Bredesen said in announcement video Thursday morning. 

Former Tennessee Rep. Stephen Fincher Running for Senate
Fincher will face former House colleague Marsha Blackburn in primary

Former Tennessee Rep. Stephen Fincher, who did not seek re-election in 2016, is running for Senate.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Former Rep. Stephen Fincher is entering the GOP primary for the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Bob Corker in 2018. 

Fincher joins his former colleague, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, in the primary. Both Republicans come to the race with hefty war chests. 

Former Democratic Governor Weighing Tennessee Senate Run
Bredesen is the last Democrat to hold statewide office in Tennessee

Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen, left, presents singer-songwriter Dolly Parton her star as she is inducted into the Music City Walk of Fame on November 8, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. Current potential Michigan Senate candidate Robert Ritchie, a.k.a. Kid Rock, applauds center-right. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen is weighing whether to jump into Tennessee’s senate race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker.

Bredesen is the last Democrat to win statewide office in Tennessee.