TN-Sen: Ben Folds & Jason Isbell To Headline Fundraiser For Phil Bredesen (D) On August 20th

I’m a big fan of Ben Folds, like I am, you’ll want to go to this:

Singer-songwriters Jason Isbell and Ben Folds are set to headline a special event in support of former Gov. Phil Bredesen's bid for the U.S. Senate.

The event, scheduled for Aug. 20, will take place at Marathon Music Works in Nashville.

Isbell and Folds will also be joined by Delta Rae.

Bredesen's campaign said the evening event, dubbed “Our Country, Our Future,” will bring together Tennesseans of “all political stripes” who are supported by the former governor's bid for the Senate.

Those interested in attending Bredesen's event can purchase a $25 commemorative poster that guarantees admission. Proceeds will go towards Bredesen's campaign.

Click here to get your poster to get into the event.

In other news, this toss-up race has been heating up:

Signifying the national interest in Tennessee's U.S. Senate race, two competing political action committees launched statewide TV ad buys Friday in support of their respective candidates.

The Democrat-aligned Majority Forward and the Republican-aligned Senate Leadership Fund have begun airing new TV ads in favor of former Gov. Phil Bredesen and U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, respectively.

Both national PACs told the USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee they spent $1.3 million to air their 30-second ads on Tennessee TV stations in August. Both ads are positive profiles of each candidate.

In the Senate Leadership Fund ad — titled “Tenacity” —  Blackburn is described as a go-getter who sold textbooks to pay for college.

The ad notes President Donald Trump's endorsement of Blackburn and features of clip of his comments during a campaign rally in Nashville in May.

“She loves your state. She loves your country. She's going to win,” Trump says in the ad.

The Senate Leadership Fund is financed by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-K.Y.

In their ad, called “Saved,” Majority Forward highlights Bredesen’s accomplishments while governor, including balancing the state budget without raising a sales tax and not implementing an income tax.

“Bredesen made Tennessee one of the best in America for new jobs,” a narrator says, citing his efforts to land auto plants for Volkswagen and Nissan.

The ad is funded by Majority Forward, the nonprofit wing of the Senate Majority PAC.

Bredesen’s big challenge is to break through tribalist politics:

The former Democratic governor's strategy against GOP Rep. Marsha Blackburn in the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker has been focused on listening sessions with small groups and trying to go beyond just national talking points. In fact, at a health care roundtable last month with about a dozen women in Covington, Tenn., the words “Republican,” “Democrat” or “Trump” didn't come up once.

“Really, we'd like to explore what [health care] means to you — what particular problems you might be seeing to help inform me about how to think about this,” Bredesen said as he opened the floor to the women, spending most of the hour simply listening.

The women talked about the high cost of insurance, difficulty paying for prescription drugs and struggling to just get certain treatments covered by their insurance plans.

Erica Glass, a full-time student and a mother of three, spoke about how hard it's been getting care for her 5-year-old daughter Hadelynn, who was born with a birth defect.

“I just want my child to be taken care of and get everything that she possibly ever needed and not have to fight tooth and nail to get it provided to her,” Glass said.

Glass voted for President Trump in 2016 and is still undecided in this Senate race but said she liked how Bredesen, a former health care management executive before entering politics, listened to her concerns.

“A lot of people want to hear the negative things instead of focusing on the positive and how it can benefit them. So I think if we can just all be more positive and be more open minded it would probably benefit everybody a little bit better,” she said.

Bredesen will have to convert voters like Glass if he wants to beat Blackburn and convince them he's got their best interests at heart. But to many — even if they liked Bredesen as governor — just the fact that he has a “D” beside his name is a non-starter when talking about a federal versus a state race.

“I voted for Bredesen for governor. I thought he was an excellent governor. I think he did excellent things for our state. However, Washington is a different animal. In Washington, you don't necessarily vote for what's best for the people. You vote party lines,” Robertson County Commissioner Faye Stubblefield said after a Blackburn event in Portland, Tenn., earlier that week.

But Bredesen also has an ace up his sleeve:

First up is conservative political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes. Next comes retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker and then U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Chattanooga.

None, of course, are Democrats. But glowing words from each is featured in Democrat Phil Bredesen's latest ad in the Tennessee U.S. Senate race, and his first following last week's primaries.

In a new online ad released Monday, the Bredesen campaign has taken snippets of praise directed the former Tennessee governor's way during television appearances from a slate of notable Tennessee Republicans who back his opponent, Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

They're seen talking up his record as governor and possible crossover appeal.

“Folks do not realize this, but a lot of Trump supporters are also Phil Bredesen supporters,” begins Hughes, shown speaking as a panelist on Nashville's Fox17. “We had two Republican governors who fought for an income tax, fought for a gas tax. You never saw a tax being fought for by Phil Bredesen.”

The ad, dubbed “What Republicans are saying about Phil Bredesen,” will play on digital platforms only, not television, for now. It comes as Tennessee's high-profile race for the U.S. Senate enters its final three months and as Blackburn, the Republican nominee, has aired her first television ads.

The ad also highlights footage of remarks from former state Rep. Debra Maggart of Sumner County and Republican lobbyist and consultant Bill Phillips of Nashville.

Let’s keep up the momentum and win this race. Click here to donate and get involved with Bredesen’s campaign.