The polls were showing the U.S. Senate race in Tennessee as almost a toss-up, but Republican Marsha Blackburn was able to win decisively against Democrat Phil Bredesen.
The Brentwood representative won by double digits. Though she acknowledged it was a hard-fought race, the Senator-elect says people in the state sent a loud message that they want conservative values in Washington D.C.
She told her supporters she is going to fight for five things: Faith, Family, Freedom, Hope and Opportunity.
“I was running to take those values that we share. And to work in D.C. on the things you want to see done. More constitutional judges, lower taxes, less regulations.”
This was one of the races that Democrats needed to win to take control of the Senate. Bredesen joked about the loss to supporters last night, riffing off his campaign slogan that he was "applying for the job" of senator.
“Well, I applied for this job, but I got a rejection letter.”
Throughout the campaign, Blackburn hammered Bredesen with negative ads. Many focused on aspects of his tenure as governor, including his handling of sexual harassment allegations against an aide, his investment in a solar company and his stance on immigration.
That’s the issue that connected with Joel Thimell, a self-employed author in Nashville.
“This migrant caravan coming in, the chaos, that’s probably No. 1 on my mind,” he said. “Marsha Blackburn is standing up strong to say we have to stop this uncontrolled immigration.”
Blackburn says her doors will always be open for Bredesen and his Democratic supporters. But she added that she is also going to keep backing President Donald Trump, whom she embraced throughout the campaign, and his plan of building a wall on the southern border.
Blackburn will be the first woman to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate. During the campaign, she rarely mentioned that she would make history if she won. But as the results came in on election night, she finally talked about it with a quip about Tennesseans' longstanding uncertainty about how to refer to her.
“Now you don’t have to worry if you are going to call me Congressman, or Congresswoman, or Congress lady.”
Blackburn said, “Senator,” will do.