GOP candidate's anti-immigrant attack backfires, hits her own campaign


Rep. Marsha Blackburn blasted her Democratic opponent for legalizing driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants. But it was actually done by her state's Republican governor — who is trying to get her elected.

Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn is already struggling in her Senate campaign in deep red Tennessee against Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen. And now she has found an entirely new way to humiliate herself.

At the Carter County Republican Dinner on Thursday night, Blackburn attempted to get in a jab at Bredesen over immigration. According to the Johnson City Press, Blackburn told a crowd of supporters that Bredesen, as governor, "gave driver licenses to illegal aliens."

There is just one problem.

The bill to grant undocumented immigrants access to driver's licenses, House Bill 983, was actually signed into law by Republican Gov. Don Sundquist. And just last month, Sundquist endorsed Blackburn's campaign. He even published an op-ed attacking Bredesen and praising Blackburn that exact same week.

It would seem inconceivable that Blackburn doesn't know that it was Sundquist who signed the bill. After all, she was among nine senators who voted against it.

In other words, Blackburn was not only lying, she also implicated one of her campaign's most prominent endorsers.

Tennessee Democrats were quick to mock Blackburn's failed attack. As former state Rep. John Litz wrote in an editorial for the Knoxville News, "Political insiders are knee-slapping over the misstep, now jokingly referring to the incident as 'Blackburn's Boomerang' — a poorly thought-out attack that didn’t make a dent on Bredesen, but left bruises on Black and Sundquist."

And Blackburn was hardly in good shape to begin with. A far-right candidate known for her full-out assault on Planned Parenthood, Blackburn is down in the six most recent polls of the race, in a state Trump carried by 26 points.

Trump himself is headed to Nashville later this month for a fundraiser to prop her up. But his endorsement hasn't always proven to be a benefit for a candidate.

Blackburn's missteps are only endangering her campaign further. And she may also be tanking the GOP's prospects for keeping the Senate.