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Taylor Swift endorsement shocked Phil Bredesen in Tennessee Senate race



Phil Bredesen, Tennessee's Democratic candidate for US Senate, talks with supporters at a campaign event on October 27.
Bredesen, Tennessee’s Democratic candidate for US Senate, talks
with supporters at a campaign event on October

Eliza Relman/Business

Phil Bredesen, the former Nashville mayor, two-term Tennessee
governor, and now candidate for US Senate, said he was taken by
surprise when pop music phenom Taylor Swift
broke her political silence
to endorse his campaign earlier
this month. 

“It came out of the blue,” Bredesen,
a centrist Democrat running on a promise to bring bipartisanship
to Washington
Business Insider in an interview
last weekend in Nashville.
“I had no reason to believe she would even know I was running,
let alone that she would do this.” 

Bredesen said he got to know Swift “very slightly” while he
was governor in the mid-2000s as the two worked together on an
anti-drug initiative targeted at school kids. He also said he’d
“seen her backstage at things over the years.”

But he said the 28-year-old megastar had not communicated
with Bredesen’s campaign or indicated she might make an
endorsement before she posted her unexpected Instagram
a month before November’s midterm

“I wish I could claim that it was something I had organized
or orchestrated, but it was not,” Bredesen said. 

After years of speculation about her political views, Swift
announced to her 112 million followers that she would be voting
for Bredesen and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper in her adopted home
state. She also slammed Bredesen’s Republican opponent,
eight-term congressman Marsha Blackburn, one of the most
conservative members of the House who’s running on a
full-throated support of President Donald Trump’s

“Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me,”
Swift wrote of Blackburn. “These are not MY Tennessee

The move, which Swift made two days before Tennessee’s
voter registration deadline, was followed by
a surge in voter registration
, particularly among millennials
both in the Southern red state and across the country, according
to, a nonpartisan
group that works to boost voter turnout.

Bredesen, 74, thinks Swift’s endorsement has been a boon to his

“For somebody who’s on the other side of 70, relating to
millennials is not as easy as if you’re Beto O’Rourke or
somebody, so I think that really helped me,” he said. 

Swift also urged her massive following to educate themselves on
candidates for office wherever they live and “vote based on who
most closely represents your values.”

I’m writing this post about the upcoming midterm elections on November 6th, in which I’ll be voting in the state of Tennessee. In the past I’ve been reluctant to publicly voice my political opinions, but due to several events in my life and in the world in the past two years, I feel very differently about that now. I always have and always will cast my vote based on which candidate will protect and fight for the human rights I believe we all deserve in this country. I believe in the fight for LGBTQ rights, and that any form of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender is WRONG. I believe that the systemic racism we still see in this country towards people of color is terrifying, sickening and prevalent. I cannot vote for someone who will not be willing to fight for dignity for ALL Americans, no matter their skin color, gender or who they love. Running for Senate in the state of Tennessee is a woman named Marsha Blackburn. As much as I have in the past and would like to continue voting for women in office, I cannot support Marsha Blackburn. Her voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies me. She voted against equal pay for women. She voted against the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which attempts to protect women from domestic violence, stalking, and date rape. She believes businesses have a right to refuse service to gay couples. She also believes they should not have the right to marry. These are not MY Tennessee values. I will be voting for Phil Bredesen for Senate and Jim Cooper for House of Representatives. Please, please educate yourself on the candidates running in your state and vote based on who most closely represents your values. For a lot of us, we may never find a candidate or party with whom we agree 100% on every issue, but we have to vote anyway. So many intelligent, thoughtful, self-possessed people have turned 18 in the past two years and now have the right and privilege to make their vote count. But first you need to register, which is quick and easy to do. October 9th is the LAST DAY to register to vote in the state of TN. Go to and you can find all the info. Happy Voting! 🗳😃🌈

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift) on Oct 7, 2018 at 4:33pm PDT on

Swift has since followed up with several other social media posts
encouraging her fans to vote early — and urging her fellow
Tennesseans to cast their ballots for Bredesen. 

“These two Tennessee women voted for the candidate who has proven
himself to be reasonable and trustworthy,” she wrote in a Tuesday
Instagram post featuring herself and her mother, Andrea Swift,
posing by a Bredesen campaign banner. “We want leadership, not
fear-based extremism.”


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