Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen plans to announce his candidacy for a seat in the U.S. Senate this morning, according to a report on The Tennessean website Wednesday afternoon.
Bredesen’s entry sets up a blockbuster election for the seat to be vacated by Republican Sen. Bob Corker.
Three sources confirmed the Democrat’s candidacy, as first reported by the Nashville Post, on Wednesday.
The former governor, who recently turned 74 years old, was the last Democrat to win statewide election.
He won all 95 counties in 2006 en route to his re-election as governor.
Although Tennessee’s political landscape has drastically shifted since then, with Republicans controlling both U.S. Senate seats, seven of nine Congressional seats, the governor’s mansion and supermajorities in both state legislative chambers, Bredesen candidacy makes the race immediately competitive for Democrats.
In October, political analyst Charlie Cook of The Cook Political report said Tennessee’s Senate race would become a toss-up if Bredesen runs and that the seat would likely remain Republican if he did not.
It is unclear what impact the former governor’s candidacy will have on Democrat James Mackler, an Iraq War veteran and Nashville attorney, who is also seeking the nomination.
Chattanooga mayor Andy Berke has expressed interest in the Democratic nomination as well.
On the Republican side, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, former Congressman Stephen Fincher and Rolando Toyos are seeking their party’s nomination.