These two states are from the upper South. Both voted for Trump. But they’re very different in other ways. West Virginia is another must-hold state for the Democrats, while in Tennessee Bob Corker’s resignation gives them a possible pick-up opportunity.
Tennessee: Bredesen v. Blackburn. Tennessee has unexpectedly turned out to be in play, due to the candidacy of popular Democratic governor Phil Bredesen. The likely matchup will pit him against Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has a lifetime League of Conservation Voters (LCV) score of 2%.
Bredesen’s website focuses on the economy, health care, and education. He seems to be following more or less the strategy that gave Doug Jones his surprise victory in Alabama. As governor, however, Bredesen supported a goal of 25% renewable energy by 2025.
Blackburn makes no secret of her deep conservatism, saying, “I know the left calls me a wing nut or a knuckle-dragging conservative. And you know what? I say that’s all right. Bring it on.”
West Virginia: Manchin v. Morrisey. The incumbent is Joe Manchin (D), with a 44% LCV score. Manchin’s opponent is State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey. Morrisey’s website emphases his crusades against Obama-era environmental regulations.
Manchin’s website presents him as a champion of coal miners. He promises to continue “fighting in the U.S. Senate to keep West Virginia coal miners on the job and support West Virginia’s energy economy.” He supports a “bipartisan pathway to harness domestic energy resources, including coal, natural gas, biomass, nuclear, wind, and solar.” He also says he’s trying to bring a natural gas hub to West Virginia. Overall, he’s probably about halfway between the median Democrat and the median Republican on environmental issues.
Morrisey’s views are more strident. His website calls him “a conservative champion for Mountain State families and taxpayers.” As state attorney general, he takes credit for halting Obama’s Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States rules.
Neither Manchin nor Bredesen can be called an environmental champion. Their opponents, however, have deep, passionate commitments to dismantling environmental protections.