Former Governor Phil Bredesen and Congressman Marsha Blackburn easily captured their parties' nominations for Senate today, as expected.
In early voting returns, Bredesen led the field for the Democratic nomination at 94 percent. Blackburn was up on a sole Republican challenger with 84 percent of the vote.
And even before the polls closed, they already started positioning themselves for the general election. It could be one of the most-watched races in the nation.
Neither Bredesen nor Blackburn faced any serious competition in the primary. But their supporters were out in full force on Election Day.
"Phil Bredesen is one of the smartest people I've ever met in my life," sayd Bryan Brand, a retired hospital administrator in Franklin.
"I voted for Marsha," said Julie Duncan, also of Franklin. "She's been a dear friend and works harder than anybody that I know."
Democrats are banking on that enthusiasm for Bredesen, which they believe can get voters energized about all of their candidates. Republicans, meanwhile, need Blackburn to win as they try to hold onto the U.S. Senate.
Each candidate has raised more than $8 million for their campaigns. And ahead of the primary, they each launched new TV ads — a taste of what's to come during the three-month sprint to the general election.