The top candidates for governor and U-S Senate appear before their largest audiences of the campaign this week.
It begins Wednesday in Knoxville when Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democrat Phil Bredesen face each other in a prime time U-S Senate debate televised statewide beginning at 7 p.m.
Both are expected to amplify their positions on major themes heard daily in televised political ads that often appear one right after the other.
Former Governor Bredesen will likely argue that “no one is going to tell (him) how to vote” on issues and “that he is not a lapdog of Chuck Schumer” as the former Tennessee governor said in one recent television ad.
Middle Tennessee Congresswoman Blackburn will tout her early support of President Trump’s policies as evidenced by two presidential visits to Tennessee to bolster her campaign.
In the race for governor, Democrat Karl Dean and Republican Bill Lee have appeared together in countless forums for a year and a half, but only once before as the nominees of their party.
Tuesday in upper east Tennessee marks their second debate, but their largest audience will see them in a debate at 7 p.m. Friday at Nashville’s Belmont University.
Dean hopes the two debates help him cut into Lee’s double-digit lead in most polls by touting his bipartisan work and experience as Nashville’s mayor.
Lee in a recent ad says “experience that matters” includes running his family business, along with being a “7th generation Tennessean and third generation cattle farmer.”
Many observers think only a major gaffe from Lee could turn the race around for Dean.