Tennessee history made as Democrat begins long shot quest for U.S. Senate


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — While the Republican primary for U.S. Senate got all the attention in recent weeks, the Democrat primary for the same seat made history last night.

Marquita Bradshaw is the first African-American woman to be a U.S. Senate nominee for either major party in Tennessee.

A lot of Tennessee Democrats are learning about Bradshaw, but a plurality of them selected her as the nominee Thursday.

Most observers thought Nashville lawyer and Iraq war vet James Mackler would be the Democrat nominee based on his previous run and endorsement from former Governor Phil Bredesen, but that was never a concern of Bradshaw who describes herself on her social media pages as an “organizer, advocate and mom cleaning up politics and the environment.”

On her Facebook page Friday morning, Bradshaw said she “was feeling humbled, inspired and ready to keep fighting.” Fellow Memphian and trailblazer Karen Camper, who is the first African-American woman to lead Tennessee House Democrats, put it  this way in a statement: “Ms. Bradshaw and her team showed that while you can be outspent in a political race, you can never be outworked.  Tenacity is our currency in the democratic party.” said Rep. Camper.  

Now Bradshaw begins a campaign as an overwhelming underdog against Republican U.S. Senate nominee Bill Hagerty.

Being an underdog was exactly the same spot where she began her quest for Democrat nomination. More than half of the votes for Bradshaw came in the state two largest counties, Shelby and Davidson, where she finished first and second respectively.

Mackler finished third in the Democrat primary behind Nashville lawyer Robin Kimbrough, who like Bradshaw, is also African-American.

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