>> Everything becoming a partisan issue.>> Tennessee's Phil Bredesen was once Democrats' bright light with polls showing him in a surprisingly tight Senate race with Republican Marsha Blackburn in the heart of of Trump country. But it appears the ground has shifted against Bredesen, a Centrist Democrat. Despite an endorsement by Taylor Swift, and rumblings of a Democratic wave, the state's popular former governor is struggling to keep up in a race that has drawn national attention.
A New York Times/Siena College poll last week showed Bredesen behind Blackburn by as many as 14 percentage points. Just a week before, a poll showed Bredesen trailing by only 8 points, the decline coinciding with the nation's furious debate over the confirmation of President Trump's Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh.
And activists on both sides say that the battle injected new energy into Republicans, since it's one of the several red states where Democrats were hoping to snag a Senate seat. Democrats need to win just two seats to take control. But since the beginning, to succeed in a state Trump won by 26 percentage points is no easy feat.
Bredesen has to be conservative enough for Republican and Independence voters, while also sustaining support from a Democratic base that's tilting more to the left. A group he no doubtedly ticked off by publicly supporting Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court. And he may not have won any fans from the other side of the aisle either.
His Republican opponent has hammered him for first avoiding to take a stand on Kavanaugh, and then for his late endorsement