Trump backs Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee GOP US Senate bid

FILE - In this Oct. 26, 2017, file photo, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington. President Donald Trump has endorsed Blackburn in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat from Tennessee. Trump tweeted April 19, 2018, that the sitting congresswoman is a “wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her.” (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File) –The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has endorsed Marsha Blackburn in the Republican primary for a U.S. Senate seat from Tennessee.

Trump tweeted Thursday that the sitting congresswoman is a “wonderful woman who has always been there when we have needed her.” Trump added that she’s great on his key issues of the military, border security and crime and works hard for the people of Tennessee.

Trump said, “I will be there to campaign with her!” He did not announce any dates.

Blackburn initially faced a challenge from former Republican U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher in the August GOP primary, but he left the race earlier this year. Blackburn currently faces token GOP opposition. The seat became open when incumbent Sen. Bob Corker, a Trump critic, announced his retirement.

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Corker tweeted earlier this month that he is donating money to Blackburn’s campaign. She has represented Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District in the House since 2002. The district includes 19 counties in the western and middle parts of the state.

The other senator from Tennessee, Republican Lamar Alexander, also has endorsed Blackburn.

Seven Senate candidates and one gubernatorial candidate have been removed from the August primary ballot for lacking voting credentials to justify running as Republicans.

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen is the Democratic candidate.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 advantage in the U.S. Senate.

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This story has been corrected to reflect that Fincher has dropped out of the Senate race in Tennessee.

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October 15, 2018 | 10:02 AM