May 29, 2024 - Politics

Blackburn earns VP buzz while running for re-election

Sen. Marsha Blackburn

Sen. Marsha Blackburn. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Getty Images

While U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn campaigns to keep her Senate seat, her name is being mentioned by media outlets as a possible running mate for former President Trump.

Why it matters: Blackburn has thrived during the Trump era of Republican politics. An unabashed Trump supporter, she's become a darling of conservative television and one of the more prominent GOP leaders nationally.

Driving the news: Trump hosted several surrogates at his Mar-a-Lago resort earlier this month in a sort of vice presidential audition. Trump gave feedback on the contenders, according to audio obtained by Axios.

  • He said Blackburn was "like an Energizer bunny" when she ran for the Senate in 2018.

The latest: In an interview last weekend, Trump didn't single out Blackburn but said "we have many people who would do a really fantastic job" as vice president.

  • He said he planned to announce his running mate "sometime during the [Republican National Convention]," which takes place July 15-18.

Yes, but: It's unclear how strong Blackburn's VP chances are. The political prediction market PredictIt has 14 possible running mates with better odds than Blackburn.

State of play: Recent polling shows Blackburn in the lead in a matchup against state Rep. Gloria Johnson, the Democratic primary frontrunner.

  • Blackburn defeated former Gov. Phil Bredesen to win the Senate seat in 2018.

What she's saying: "Of course, I will do whatever I can to help President Trump defeat Joe Biden in November. We have a country to save," Blackburn said in a statement to Axios. "I am up for re-election to continue representing Tennesseans and our conservative values in the United States Senate, and I am focused on that."

Flashback: Blackburn's VP buzz highlights her ascent up the political ladder. She became executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment and Commission in 1995 before successfully running for the state Senate in 1998.

  • During her time in the legislature, Blackburn, who is 71, spearheaded the opposition to a state income tax. She ran for Congress in 2002, winning a safe Republican seat that she held until leveling up to the Senate in 2018.

Friction point: Although she's viewed as a conservative firebrand, Blackburn also touts her bipartisan legislative accomplishments, including music copyright reform.

She recently partnered with Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff to pass a bill requiring social media companies to report incidents of sex trafficking, grooming and exploitation of children.

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