GOP Senate candidate and current Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) told Brian Wilson on WTN SuperTalk 99.7 Thursday that she is in it to win it when he asked about the possibility of Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) ‘un-retiring’ and running for re-election this year in the Republican primary.
Brian Wilson set up the phone interview, saying: “Yesterday, there was a bit of news about Bob Corker, who said he might ‘un-retire,’ and I was on record saying that I didn’t think that was right. If you say you’re going to retire, then you’re going to retire, because other people are then going to jump in the race.
“This effected, of course, the Senate campaign of one Marsha Blackburn,” Wilson continued, “who joins us on the line right now.”
After he graciously welcomed Blackburn on the air, and the niceties were exchanged, Wilson got right down to business.
“Here’s the thing – what was your reaction when you – after you’ve jumped into the race, started spending money on a campaign, and started doing everything that you should do to run for the office, that was going to be vacated. What was your reaction when you learned that Bob corker was now, all of a sudden, contemplating not retiring?” Wilson asked.
Blackburn answered candidly, “I kind of chuckled and I said, ‘You know what? It looks like I going to have one more opponent in the primary!’ So, I’ve got the game plan and we are hard at work, and so we are ready more forward and are moving forward, working every day, and it doesn’t change a single thing I’m doing.”
Wilson responded, “Well, there is a story out there this morning that suggests that he has sort of thought better of the idea. What’s the latest information that you have?”
“You know, I haven’t talked with the Senator, so you know, I don’t know where he is in the thought process. But there, again, Brian, you know, it really doesn’t effect me.
Blackburn continued, “I made my decision. I’m pretty good at making decisions and I did all of my due diligence. I think all of the scuttlebutt and talk only does one thing, and that is to help Chuck Schumer and the Democrats.”
“Alright,” Wilson said, “So he gets in, fine; if he doesn’t get in, fine – you’ve got your plan, right?”
“That’s exactly right,” Blackburn said. “I think people of this state want to see somebody that is going to stand with Donald Trump, to push forward his agenda. As I have said from the beginning, I’m going to the Senate as a positive force for conservative change, to move that agenda to the President’s desk, so he can take action on the things that people are wanting to see.
“They are benefiting from the tax cut; they’re benefiting from regulatory relief; they want the Senate to more forward and deal with infrastructure and deal with immigration, and get Obamacare off the books.
“So those are the things I’m working on. That is the focus of my campaign.”
Wilson pressed, “Look. Come on. I know you must have been angry. I mean, reportedly, somebody on your campaign staff was quoted as saying, ‘Only a sexist pig would believe that Marsh Blackburn can’t win in the state of Tennessee.’ That indicated that some people were pretty angry. ”
Listeners can hear Blackburn in the background laughing.
Wilson said, “Tell me the truth. I mean, if I were you, I would be angry.”
Blackburn answered, “You know what, that wouldn’t have been my choice of words. But I can tell you this: I certainly understand the frustration that leads to that, because I think every woman does.
“We work twice as hard to earn half as much… What is that old poster of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers where she took every step he did but in high-heels and backwards?,” she said with a laugh.
“You know I you kind of become accustomed to that. But for younger women who look at their moms or their mentors to see how hard they’ve worked to earn their rightful place, or to earn a place, or to earn the ability to compete – I think it does get to be frustrating.”
“Do you think you can win? Because…” Wilson asked bluntly. Blackburn immediately replied, “Oh yes!” But Wilson continued talking, saying,”Bear with me for a moment, because the reason this all came up -why apparently people were asking Corker to consider getting back – is because there was a poll out there that said that it could be a really, really tight race against the Democratic opponent.”
Blackburn said, “I think all races in 2018 are going to be tight races. Brian, there is no campaign that is a sure deal. We don’t have coronations in the country. We have competition. And I am going to compete aggressively to earn every, single vote. That’s what I’ve always done, and it’s what I’m going to do with this election.
“I am working have to earn the vote of the people of Tennessee. They know my record they know how I have worked, they know I led the fight against the state income tax. When I came congress, I restored their ability to deduct the sales tax they pay every year from their federal income filing, they know that with songwriters, I worked to achieve for them a tax change so when they sell their catalog they are not going to be taxed at ordinary income rates, they would be taxed at a business rate. People know my record.”
Wilson said, “Let me just see if I can ask this one other way: If you had the opportunity to get the Senator on the phone, what would you say to him?”
Blackburn took a beat to consider her answer and replied, “I would say to him, ‘Welcome to the race. We’re going to have a great race. I am up in the polls, and I am just getting started.”
In the closing moments of the interview, Brian Wilson asked, “Are you going to have the support of President Trump or will you seek it?”
“I am always pleased to have the support of the President,” Blackburn said. “I talk with him regularly; I’m in and out of the White House regularly. I was down there yesterday working on some issues that are important to Tennessee, and I would welcome his support.
“President Trump and his agenda are very well received in our state, and people want to see more deregulation, more lifting of the tax burden, they want to see the economy freed up – they’re very pleased with the economic growth that we are seeing. and I am going to support that agenda.”
According to the latest Tennessee Star / Triton Poll results, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) leads former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, in a head-to-head general election matchup for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) by 11 points, 50 percent to 39 percent.
Listen to the 6:30min segment: