Senate candidates won’t debate in Chattanooga

By Stephen Elliott  |  Nashville Post

Democrat Phil Bredesen and Republican Marsha Blackburn will not debate in Chattanooga after Blackburn’s campaign said she would not be attending.

The Chattanooga Times Free Press, which was to co-sponsor the Oct. 1 U.S. Senate debate, reported that the event would not occur because of Blackburn’s decision. But Blackburn wrote on Twitter that it was Bredesen who had backed out, “simply because it was Fox News offering to cover it.”

The Times Free Press editor told the paper that Fox News had approached the paper about partnering on the debate but had no agreement had been confirmed.

The two Senate candidates will meet for debates in Lebanon and Knoxville, but Bredesen had urged Blackburn to agree to additional events in Memphis and Chattanooga.

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A debate in the gubernatorial election is also off the books this week as Middle Tennessee State University and the League of Women Voters announced they have canceled their Sept. 20 forum with Republican Bill Lee and Democrat Karl Dean.

An announcement cited unspecified scheduling conflicts.

The two will debate three other times in October, including Oct. 12 at Belmont University.

new poll from NBC News and Marist showed Dean, the former Nashville mayor, trailing Lee by 13 points, 53 percent to 40 percent, among likely voters.

The poll held more good news for Dean’s Democratic counterpart, though. The survey found Bredesen leading Blackburn by four points, a lead within the margin of error.

Bredesen holds a significant lead in favorability, according to the survey. The poll found 61 percent of likely Tennessee voters hold a favorable opinion of Bredesen, the former governor and Nashville mayor, compared to 22 percent with an unfavorable view. By contrast, 46 percent of likely voters hold favorable views of Blackburn, compared to 36 percent unfavorable.

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