It's Official: Former TN Gov. Phil Bredesen announces campaign for U.S. Senate

Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen announces run for U.S. Senate. (Phil Bredesen for U.S. Senate)

Phil Bredesen has announced he will campaign for Bob Corker's U.S. Senate seat.

Bredesen released a video, statement and campaign website on Thursday.

In October, Bredesen announced his interest in Sen. Corker's seat shortly after Corker announced his plans to retire at the end of his term in 2018.

A prominent supporter confirmed he had spoken to Bredesen, the most recent Democrat to win a statewide race in Tennessee, about the decision Wednesday. He spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement isn't expected until Thursday.

In a previous interview about his interest in campaigning, Bredesen acknowledged that it would take a vast amount of money to wage a successful bid.

"Set against that, I love solving problems and in Washington right now there is plenty of material," Bredesen said.

Bredesen is the last Democrat to win a statewide race in largely conservative Tennessee. Bredesen, 74, is a wealthy former Nashville mayor who was first elected governor in 2002.

According to the Associated Press, he had largely withdrawn from politics and public life since completing his second term in early 2011. Bredesen sat down with the AP to discuss his interest in the Senate race in October.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn announced her plan to run for Sen. Corker's seat following his retirement announcement in October. She reacted to Bredesen's candidacy saying she believes he is not the change Tennesseans want.

“Tennessee families want change and that is not what 74-year-old Democrat politician Phil Bredesen will bring to the United States Senate," Blackburn said in a statement. "Bredesen's views are out-of-touch with Tennessee values. He supported President Obama’s liberal policies, is against second amendment rights and even authored a plan to give illegal immigrants driving certificates. Marsha is the only true conservative in this race who will ensure liberal Bredesen doesn’t block President Trump’s agenda in Washington.”

Bredesen is expected to formally announce his candidacy on Thursday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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