Republican Marsha Blackburn campaign strategist Ward Baker predicted Democrat Phil Bredesen will lose to Rep. Marsha Blackburn in November by “death by 10,000 cuts,” also comparing Bredesen to a punch drunk boxer “who won’t survive the punches coming before the November election,” according to reports.
“I believe when the TV ads are out, and we lay out our case, I think some of them will come back. And the ones that don’t, I’ll do everything in my power to make sure that they have trouble living in the future,” Baker reportedly said by way of a joke aimed at Republicans who might cross party lines to support the Democrat.
Baker supposedly called Bredesen “Phantom Phil,” citing his “disappearing act on the campaign trail” we’ve previously characterized as “duck and cover Phil.”
Baker also hinted at a potential controversy to come that would dog Bredesen and set him apart from Blackburn as a candidate. He offered no further details.
“We’re going to make sure that he is in a corner, and we are going to constantly punch him in his face over and over and over again. This race will not be won by death by a thousand cuts. It’s going to be death by 10,000 cuts. But at the end of the day, the oxygen will be taken out of the room, and he will not survive come election night,” said Baker.
Baker, a former Marine and Nashville native who is credited with helping Republicans expand their Senate majority in 2016, is known for a hard-nosed approach to his profession and sometimes using terms from the battlefield to discuss politics.
In the race to replace retiring Republican Sen. Bob Corker, only Bredesen has paid to air television ads to this point, starting in March. His first set of ads re-introduced Bredesen, governor from 2002 to 2010, to Tennessee voters followed by another round that touches on the issue of tariffs.
Although Baker indicated Blackburn’s upcoming televisions ads will be a turning point, he did not say when they will start airing. “We’re going to go up on TV in the next 205 days,” he told the group, while repeatedly touting Blackburn’s “data-driven campaign.”
Outgoing Senator Bob Corker’s name is said to have come up, as well.
Earlier this year, Corker made waves for giving only a tepid endorsement of Blackburn, and he continues to be critical of Trump.
“Look, I’ve had a lot of people ask me to speak about Sen. Corker,” Baker said. “Sen. Corker’s a friend of mine. And Sen. Corker, when I was in the Senate Committee, was great to me and bent over backwards, called, and checked in on me, and was great. And he said he’s going to vote for us. Great. There’s comments he made, that yeah, I didn’t like it either.
“But at the end of the day, no one on our team ever curled up in the corner and cried. We just move forward because when you do that they’re winning.”