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Phil Bredesen has been defeated by Republican candidate Marsha Blackburn in the race for U.S. senator from Tennessee. A few hours after polls closed on Tuesday, The New York Times had Blackburn winning 61.5 percent of votes, while Bredesen garnered 37.2 percent.
Blackburn’s win against the former Tennessee governor makes her the state’s first woman senator. Blackburn has represented Tennessee in the House of Representatives for eight terms, since 2003. She is considered a staunch conservative, and follows the party line on hot-button issues included abortion, gun legislation, LGBT issues and immigration.
Bredesen was defeated despite receiving a rare political endorsement from Taylor Swift. The singer — who has been reluctant to speak about politics despite intense pressure to do so — last month posted a lengthy message on Instagram revealing that she was voting for Bredesen. “In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now,” Swift wrote. “I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country.”
Despite having voiced her support for the #MeToo movement, Swift said that she would be unable to vote for Blackburn because “I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love,” she continued. “Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me.” Swift mentioned Blackburn’s vote against equal pay for women, the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act and anti-LGBT legislation.
Swift’s endorsement was credited with a voter registration surge: According to Vote.org, the site saw 65,000 registrations in the 24 hours following her post. Swift also endorsed Jim Cooper for the House of Representatives. The Democrat, who has held the seat since 2003, was re-elected to Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.
Once election results became clear on Tuesday, Fox News host Laura Ingraham tweeted, “Hey @taylorswift13, haters gonna hate. #shakeitoff.”
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