U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn held a rally Monday at Sullivan’s Downtown in Maryville as the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate sought to drum up votes for today’s midterm election.
Maryville was one of Blackburn’s four 11th-hour campaign stops in East Tennessee the day before Election Day, said Abbi Sigler, Blackburn’s campaign communications director.
Riding a wave of enthusiasm from a Sunday night rally with President Donald Trump in Chattanooga, Blackburn said she is feeling confident.
“I’m ready for victory tomorrow, and I’m ready to be your U.S. senator,” Blackburn said.
Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell spoke before Blackburn, calling for locals to support her at the polls.
“We have some great things going on in this country, and it’s because we have a great president,” Mitchell said, referring to tax cuts, low unemployment and other economic issues. “He can’t do it by himself, and there is no one in Congress who has been more in step with President Trump than Marsha Blackburn.”
Following the event, Mitchell told The Daily Times he is “absolutely a Republican and a conservative” and urged Blount Countians to vote for Blackburn.
“I love what our president is doing, and I hope and pray that Marsha is elected so she can support what President Trump is doing.”
In a brief speech, Blackburn doubled down on her support of the president’s controversial immigration and fiscal policies, distancing herself from Democratic Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen.
“We continue to have people say, ‘Why does this election get so much national attention?’ It’s because Chuck Schumer said his No. 1 recruit for Senate was a guy in Tennessee named Phil Bredesen,” Blackburn said. “I do not think Tennessee is going to be the state to hand the U.S. Senate to the Democrats.”
Blackburn said she would prevail because she had “people, policy and prayer” on her side, despite “the media and money” supporting Bredesen.
“People in Tennessee want conservative values,” Blackburn said. “They want me to bring Tennessee values to the Senate.”
In a media interview after the event, Blackburn deflected responsibility for what many observers have said are misleading political ads against her opponent, saying her campaign had tried to focus on the positives and that they could not contact the “third-party” groups airing the ads.
Blackburn also told reporters that Tennessee’s “overwhelming” support of Trump in 2016 gave her confidence in the midterm election.
The president gave Blackburn a strong endorsement at the Sunday rally, saying she was doing “tremendously well” and that voting for her was the only way to stop “the liberal agenda of high taxes and high crime.”
“We feel good, optimistic, encouraged,” Blackburn said of her campaign following the rally. “We are ready to win tomorrow.”