Marsha Blackburn vying to become Tennessee's first female U.S. Senator

Drew Angerer  Getty Images North America

Drew Angerer Getty Images North America

First elected to the U.S. House in 2002, Blackburn styles herself as a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative" ready to fight for Trump's agenda.

The television networks declared Blackburn the victor at 9:15 p.m.

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Afterward though, she managed to consolidate support across the GOP's various political circles, including from former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, who briefly opposed her in the primary and called for Corker to run again upon dropping out of the race. It's expected to be a close race between Blackburn and Democratic Senate hopeful Phil Bredesen who previously was governor for the state. Chuck Schumer for majority leader if his party took back the Senate.

While President Donald Trump emphasized several times that the midterm elections were a referendum on his presidency, this particular race was less about him and more about the candidates each party fielded.

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"I think any other Democrat would be behind by 15 to 20 points", said Anthony Nownes, a professor at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Tennessee voted for Trump by 26 points in 2016, and he remains popular there; a CNN poll released November 1 found his approval rating at 53 percent there, nearly 15 points announce his support for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his contentious confirmation process. Blackburn defeated former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen in a hotly contested race that was viewed by many analysts to be a toss-up heading into election day.

"I just really want those young people to know how important it is to the future of our country that you not get discouraged, that you stay engaged and you never, ever, ever give up", Bredesen said Tuesday night.

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