Critical debate tonight at 7 p.m. for Tennessee U.S. Senate race

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The two candidates in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race face each other tonight in a critical prime-time debate tonight starting at 7 p.m. on News 2. 

Two long-time political analysts, one Republican and other leaning Democrat, have some thoughts about what to look for in the race that has been neck and neck. 

Both Steve Gill of the Tennessee Star and Bruce Dobie of Dobie Media agree that if the election were held today, Blackburn would have an edge based on recent national polls. 

“Marsha was very aggressive in the last debate. I think she also has to come across as likable,” says Gill who is a two-time Middle Tennessee congressional candidate. 

Dobie, who is a former co-owner of the Nashville Scene, says “Bredesen has been successful at pigeonholing her as–which is a Washington lackey.” 

He adds what Bredesen may have to do tonight. 

“He is going after those independent swing voters,” says Dobie. “They may be Republican, they may be Democrat, but they vote on the individual and not the party and Phil tonight has really to go to seal the deal with those people.” 

Gill looks at what remains a key point for Blackburn. 

“It has become a nationalized election,” says Gill.  “And that is not good for Phil Bredesen because Marsha is going to have to make the point and her outside groups are making the point that this is not about Phil Bredesen being governor it’s about how he will go to Washington and be part of the Democrat machine.” 

Both Gill and Dobie will be part of a pre-debate special tonight at 6:30 p.m. that can be seen at WKRN.com.  

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