Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen rolled to victory as expected in the three-candidate race for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination on Thursday – and tied a party record in doing so. Bredesen won 91.5 percent of the vote against perennial candidate Gary Davis (running in his sixth consecutive primary for the office) and attorney John Wolfe. That ties three-term incumbent Kenneth McKellar’s mark in 1940 for the largest support for a Tennessee Democratic U.S. Senate nominee in a contested primary out of 35 such contests. Bredesen set a new state party mark with his 86.2-point primary win over Davis. [McKellar won by 85.7 points over former state senator, attorney, and perennial candidate John Randolph Neal]. Democratic nominees have run unopposed for the office five times: Congressman Al Gore in 1984 and 1990, Senator Jim Sasser in 1988 and 1994, and Congressman Jim Cooper in 1994’s special.


  1. Nikoli Orr on August 3, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    1. Given their shaky holds in IN, MO, WV, ND, and FL – and NV is far from a takeaway cinch for them – the imperative for Bredesen to prevail here for the Ds arguably has increased indeed.
    2. “Congressman Al Gore…1990” It is somewhat rare that a Senate member is referred to as such, though it is of course factually correct, since, contrary to the CW of the political media, the Senate IS part of the Congress!

    • Dr. Eric Ostermeier on August 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm

      RE #2. True. Though my reference was intended solely for the purpose of referring to his initial ’84 campaign for conciseness. Congressman/Senator would have been a good compromise to avoid confusion.

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