Democrat James Mackler announced on Thursday that he is withdrawing from the race to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), a move that clears the Democratic field for front-runner, 74-year-old former Gov. Phil Bredesen.
Mackler also launched a political action committee called “Believe in Service” to “continue holding anti-service extremists like Marsha Blackburn accountable,” WATE reported.
An Iraq War veteran, Mackler, launched his campaign for the Democratic nomination in April.
After Bredesen’s entry into the race for the Democratic nomination last week the 44-year-old Mackler likely did not see a path to the nomination against the far better-known Bredesen, as his announcement indicated:
This is a moment for unity and we cannot risk dividing those seeking change in Washington because there is no time to waste.
While I am stepping back from this U.S. Senate race, I will continue holding anti-service extremists like Marsha Blackburn accountable through a political action committee called “Believe in Service.”
Using the platform Tennesseans helped me build, “Believe in Service” will support federal candidates who will protect and expand our national service programs that provide so many opportunities for service here and abroad.
It has been an honor to have been a candidate during this critical time in our democracy and I am humbled to have earned the support of so many across Tennessee.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), who has represented Tennessee’s 7th District since 2003, is widely considered to be the front-runner for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.
A recent poll conducted by Vanderbilt University shows that she has high name recognition in the state:
Republican Marsha Blackburn has the most recognizable name in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race, at 73 percent, with Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen close behind at 65. Republican Stephen Fincher trails considerably, with only 22 percent, but does have substantial name recognition in the western part of the state (46 percent).
A poll that measures name recognition does not represent voters preference for candidates.
However, high name recognition is usually a positive for political candidates, as researchers at Princeton University concluded in a recent study:
Using a series of three laboratory experiments, we show that name recognition can affect inferences about candidate viability, which in turn affect candidate support.” In short, candidates with higher name recognition are perceived by voters to be more viable candidates.
The Tennessean provided more details from the Vanderbilt Poll:
A geographic breakdown of name recognition found that Blackburn leads the way in two of the three major regions of Tennessee. In Middle Tennessee, 80 percent of respondents knew Blackburn, while 65 percent recognized Bredesen. Fincher trailed with 25 percent of respondents knowing him.
Similarly in West Tennessee, Blackburn led the way, with 82 percent of those surveyed knowing her name. Fifty-eight percent of respondents knew Bredesen. Fincher, who is from West Tennessee, had 46 percent.
In East Tennessee, Bredesen had the highest name recognition, with 63 percent of respondents knowing him. Fifty-eight percent of East Tennesseans knew Blackburn, followed by Fincher, who had 14 percent.
Both the Republican and Democratic primaries are scheduled for August 2, 2018, and the general election will be held in November.