Marsha Blackburn
Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn
Marsha Blackburn (née Wedgeworth; June 6, 1952) is an American politician and businesswoman. A Republican, she serves as the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's

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This article has been nominated to be checked for its neutrality. Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page. (January 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) Marsha Blackburn Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 7th district Incumbent Assumed office
January 3, 2003Preceded by Ed BryantMember of the Tennessee Senate
from the 23rd district In office
January 12, 1999 – January 3, 2003Preceded by Keith JordanSucceeded by Jim BrysonExecutive Director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment, and Music Commission In office
February 1995 – June 1997Governor Don SundquistPreceded by Dancy JonesSucceeded by Anne PopeChair of the Williamson County Republican Party In office
1989–1991Preceded by George MillerSucceeded by Al Nations Personal detailsBorn Marsha Wedgeworth
(1952-06-06) June 6, 1952 (age 66)
Laurel, Mississippi, U.S.Political party RepublicanSpouse(s) Chuck BlackburnChildren 2Education Mississippi State University (BS)

Marsha Blackburn[1] (née Wedgeworth; June 6, 1952) is an American politician and businesswoman. A Republican, she serves as the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 7th congressional district; Blackburn was first elected to the post in 2002. She is the Republican Deputy Whip and Chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and the Internet. Blackburn is also a former member of the Tennessee Senate.

In October 2017, Blackburn announced her campaign for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Senator Bob Corker in 2018. She won the Republican primary in August 2018 and will face Democratic nominee Phil Bredesen in the November 2018 general election.

Contents Early life and education

Born Marsha Wedgeworth in Laurel, Mississippi, she attended Mississippi State University, earning a B.S. in home economics in 1974.[2][3][4] In college, she joined Chi Omega[5][6] and worked as a student manager for the Southwestern Company, selling books door-to-door.[3] She is a former beauty-pageant winner.[7]

Early political career

Blackburn's professional career began in 1973 when she was hired as a sales manager for Times Mirror, Inc. In 1975 she was named Director of Retail Fashion and Special Events of the Castner Knott Division of Mercantile Stores, Inc. She held this position until 1978, when she became the owner of Marketing Strategies, a promotion-event management and image consulting firm. She continues to run this business.[4]

Blackburn was a founding member of the Williamson County Young Republicans.[6] She became chair of the Williamson County Republican Party in 1989.[6] Blackburn replaced George Miller.[8] She served as Chair until 1991.[9] Al Nations succeeded her.[10] In 1992, she was a candidate for Congress and a delegate to the 1992 Republican National Convention. She lost the congressional race,[6] but remained active in politics.[3]

In 1995, Blackburn was appointed executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment, and Music Commission by Tennessee governor Don Sundquist,[11][6] and held that post through 1997.[12] In 1998, she was elected to the Tennessee Senate, where she served for six years and rose to be minority whip.[3]

In 2000, she took part in the effort to prevent the passage of a state income tax championed by Sundquist.[6]

U.S. House of Representatives Tenure Rep. Marsha Blackburn official photo in 2005.

In 2002, Republican Ed Bryant gave up his seat as representative from Tennessee's 7th District so that he could run for the Senate. Blackburn ran against Democrat Tim Barron for the seat and was overwhelmingly elected. In 2004, she ran unopposed and was re-elected.[13]

In 2006, she successfully ran for a third term in the House of Representatives.[5] In November 2007, she unsuccessfully ran for the position of Republican conference chair.[14][15][16]

Blackburn joined Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign as a senior advisor. In May 2007, she resigned her position in the Romney campaign and endorsed former U.S. Senator Fred Thompson for president.[17][18] She was re-elected in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, and 2016.

In April 2018, she signed onto a letter formally nominating President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize "in recognition of his work to end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region."[19]

Committee assignments

Blackburn served as an assistant whip in Congress from 2003 to 2005, and has served as a deputy whip since 2005.[22][23][20][24]

In 2008, she won her primary race by gaining 62 percent of the vote against Shelby County registrar of deeds, and fellow former state senator Tom Leatherwood.[25][26]

Political campaigns

Redistricting after the 2000 Census moved Blackburn's home from the 6th district into the 7th district. The 6th District's Democratic incumbent congressman, Bart Gordon, had faced three tough races in the 1990s, including a near-defeat in 1994, in part due to the growing Republican trend in Nashville's suburbs. This was especially pronounced in Williamson County, the richest county in the state and the most Republican county in Middle Tennessee. It appeared that the Democratic-controlled Tennessee General Assembly wanted to protect Gordon by moving Williamson County into the already heavily Republican 7th District.[27]

To maintain approximately equal district sizes (as required by Wesberry v. Sanders) and to compensate for the substantial increase in the 7th's population by the addition of Williamson County, the legislature shifted some of the more Democratic parts of Clarksville to the nearby 8th district. This created a district that, in the words of Memphis Magazine, stretched "in reptilian fashion" for 200 miles from eastern Memphis to southwest Nashville.[6]

In 2002, 7th District incumbent Republican congressman Ed Bryant decided to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Fred Thompson. Blackburn entered the primary to replace Bryant—the real contest in this Republican stronghold. Of the four main candidates, she was the only one from the Nashville suburbs. The other three, future state senate majority leader Mark Norris, conservative activist and future U.S. Attorney and Representative David Kustoff, and city councilman Brent Taylor, were all from Memphis and its suburbs. She garnered the endorsement of the conservative Club for Growth.[28] The three Memphians split the vote in that area, allowing her to win the primary by nearly 20 percentage points.[29]

In the general election, she easily defeated Democratic nominee Tim Barron, winning more than 70% of the vote. She was the fourth woman elected to Congress from Tennessee, but the first not to serve as a stand-in for her husband.[30]

She ran unopposed for reelection in 2004, which is somewhat unusual for a freshman member of Congress, even from a district as heavily Republican as the 7th. A 2004 survey of congressional aides by the Washingtonian identified her as one of the three "best newcomers" in the House of Representatives.[31]

Redistricting after the 2010 census made the 7th district more compact; it lost its shares of Nashville and Memphis while regaining all of Clarksville. However, it is no less Republican than its predecessor; with a Cook Partisan Voting Index of R+18, it is one of the most Republican districts in the South.[32]

Rep. Marsha Blackburn official photo in 2011. 2018 United States Senate election Main article: United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2018

In October 2017, Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, former Knoxville mayor, declined to run for the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker. Shortly after, Blackburn announced her campaign for the seat. In her announcement, she said that House Republicans are frustrated with Senate Republicans[33] who they believe act like Democrats on important issues, including repealing Obamacare.[34] In the announcement of her candidacy, she described herself as a "hard-core, card-carrying Tennessee conservative", said she was "politically incorrect" and noted with pride that liberals have characterized her as a "wing nut".[35] Blackburn dismissed compromise and bipartisanship, saying "No compromise, no apologies."[35] She also said that she carried a gun in her purse.[35]

Early on in the campaign, the retiring incumbent, Bob Corker stirred controversy when he said that Blackburn's opponent, Phil Bredesen, was "a very good mayor, a very good governor, a very good business person", that he had "real appeal" and "crossover appeal", and that the two of them had cooperated well over the years.[36][37] After Corker's praise for Bredesen, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned Corker that such comments could cost the Republican Party its Senate majority.[37] Shortly after Corker's comments, President Trump tweeted an endorsement of Blackburn.[37] She largely backs President Donald Trump's policies,[35][38] including a U.S.-Mexico border wall,[33] and shares his opinion regarding National Football League national anthem protests.[39][40] Vice President Mike Pence also endorsed Blackburn a few days later on April 23, 2018. During the campaign, Blackburn pledged to support President Trump's agenda and suggested that her opponent, Bredesen, would not, saying "Do you think Phil Bredesen would vote with crying Chuck Schumer or would he vote with our president when it comes to support our troops and supporting our veterans?"[41]

Both Blackburn and her opponent, former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, disclosed in mid-April that they had raised close to $2 million each during the first quarter of the year.[42]

On August 2, Blackburn received 610,302 votes (84.48%) in the Republican primary, winning her party's nomination.[43]

Electoral history Tennessee's 6th congressional district: 1992 results[44] Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 1992 Bart Gordon 120,177 57% Marsha Blackburn 86,289 41% H. Scott Benson Independent 5,952 3% * .mw-parser-output .refbegin{font-size:90%;margin-bottom:0.5em}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul{list-style-type:none;margin-left:0}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>ul>li,.mw-parser-output .refbegin-hanging-indents>dl>dd{margin-left:0;padding-left:3.2em;text-indent:-3.2em;list-style:none}.mw-parser-output .refbegin-100{font-size:100%}

*Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 1992, write-ins received 10 votes.

Tennessee's 7th congressional district: Results 2002–2016[44][45][46] Year Democratic Votes Pct Republican Votes Pct 3rd Party Party Votes Pct 2002 Tim Barron 51,790 26% Marsha Blackburn 138,314 71% Rick Patterson Independent 5,423 3% * 2004 (no candidate) Marsha Blackburn 232,404 100% 2006 Bill Morrison 73,369 32% Marsha Blackburn 152,288 66% Kathleen A. Culver Independent 1,806 1% * 2008 Randy Morris 98,207 31% Marsha Blackburn 214,214 69% 2010 Greg Rabidoux 54,341 25% Marsha Blackburn 158,892 72% J.W. Stone Independent 6,319 3% * 2012 Credo Amouzouvik 61,050 24% Marsha Blackburn 180,775 71% Howard Switzer Green 4,584 2% * 2014 Daniel Cramer 42,280 26.8% Marsha Blackburn 110,534 69.9% Leonard Ladner Independent 5,093 3.2% 2016 Tharon Chandler 65,226 23.5% Marsha Blackburn 200,407 72.2% Leonard Ladner Independent 11,880 4.3% *Write-in and minor candidate notes: In 2002, write-ins received 31 votes. In 2006, James B. "Mickey" White received 898 votes; William J. Smith received 848 votes; John L. Rimer received 710 votes; and Gayl G. Pratt received 663 votes. Political positions The neutrality of this section is disputed. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page. Please do not remove this message until conditions to do so are met. (January 2018) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

Blackburn is a Tea Party Republican.[47] She has been described as staunchly conservative.[48][49] She scored 100% on American Conservative Union's 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009 Ratings of Congress.[50][51][52]

Abortion and stem cell research

She opposes abortion.[35] In 2013, Blackburn was chosen to manage debate on a bill promoted by House Republicans that would have prohibited abortions after 22 weeks' gestation, with limited exceptions for rape or incest.[53] She replaced the bill's sponsor, congressman Trent Franks (R-AZ), after Franks made controversial claims that the chances of pregnancy resulting from rape were "very low".[54][55] In 2015, Blackburn led a panel that investigated the Planned Parenthood undercover video controversy - where anti-abortion activists published a selectively edited video which purported to show that Planned Parenthood illicitly sold fetal tissue - no subsequent investigation into Planned Parenthood found any evidence of fetal tissue sales or of wrongdoing.[56] Later, in 2017, when Blackburn announced that she was running in the 2018 Tennessee senatorial race, she ran an advertisement saying that she "fought Planned Parenthood and we stopped the sale of baby body parts".[56][57] Twitter banned the advertisement on its platform because of its assertion about the sale of baby body parts.[58] In 2015, Blackburn falsely claimed that 94% of Planned Parenthood's business revolves around abortion services; FactCheck.Org noted that abortions account for 3% of the total services provided by Planned Parenthood in 2013 and that most of Planned Parenthood's work is dedicated to treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, pregnancy tests, prenatal services and cancer screenings.[59]

In March 2016, Blackburn chaired the Republican-led Select Investigative Panel, a committee convened to "explore the ethical implications of using fetal tissue in biomedical research".[60] Democratic on the panel characterized the probe as a politically motivated witch hunt, and objected to subpoenas demanding "names of researchers, technicians and medical personnel involved in fetal tissue handling".[60] Subpoenaed biotechnology executives Eugene Gu of the Ganogen Research Institute and Cate Dyer of StemExpress argued in an article in Nature that the panel was intimidating researchers and patients.[61] Gu went on Science Friday on NPR and detailed his experiences living in close proximity to Blackburn's Congressional district and having armed United States Marshals deliver the subpoena to his home.[62] The Republican majority on the panel released a report concluding that fetal tissue "makes a vanishingly small contribution to clinical and research efforts, if it contributes at all"; scientists on the other hand widely hold that fetal tissue research is valuable for science and medicine.[58] A fact-check by Science magazine identified a number of falsehoods in the panel's report.[63]

Health care and pharmaceuticals

Blackburn opposed the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), stating, with the passage of the bill, "freedom dies a little bit today."[64] She subsequently supported efforts to repeal the legislation, arguing that it "means well" but fails to live up to its promise.[65] In 2017, while arguing for the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, Blackburn falsely stated that two popular provisions of the Affordable Care Act (protections for individual with preexisting conditions and the provision allowing adult children to be on their parents' health plans until they're 26) "were two Republican provisions which made it into the bill."[66] In her declaration that she would run for the Senate in 2018, she said that the failure to repeal the Affordable Care Act was "a disgrace".[67]

Blackburn co-sponsored legislation that revised the legal standard Drug Enforcement Agency to establish "a significant and present risk of death or serious bodily harm that is more likely than not to occur," rather than the previous standard of "imminent danger," before suspending drug shipments.[68] The legislation passed the House and the Senate unanimously, but was criticized in internal agency documents, Justice Department documents, and by the DEA's chief administrative law judge, as hampering DEA enforcement actions against drug distribution companies engaging in black-market sales.[68]

At October 2013 congressional hearings on the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as "Obamacare", Blackburn charged the website violated HIPAA and health information privacy rights. The next day, when a CNN interviewer pointed out that the only health-related question that the web site asks is "do you smoke?", Blackburn repeated her criticism of the site for violating privacy rights.[69]

Science and environment

Blackburn rejects the scientific consensus on climate change, saying in 2015 "The jury is still out saying man is the cause for global warming, after the earth started to cool 13 years ago."[70] Blackburn asserted that there is "not consensus" in the scientific community on climate change, and that climate change remains "unproven".[71][72][73]

Blackburn rejects the theory of evolution.[70]

In April 2009, an exchange between Blackburn and former Vice President Al Gore received significant publicity. During a congressional hearing on energy policy, Blackburn asked Gore, "The legislation that we are discussing here today, is that something that you are going to personally benefit from?".[74][75] Gore indicated in response that all income he earned from renewable technology investment went to non-profits.[76]


Blackburn opposes net neutrality in the United States, referring to it as "socialistic".[77] Blackburn opposes municipal broadband initiatives that aim to compete with Internet service providers.[78][79] She supported bills that restrict municipalities from creating their own broadband networks, and wrote a bill to prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from preempting state laws that blocked municipal broadband.[80][81]

In early 2017, Blackburn introduced to the House a measure to dismantle an Obama-administration online privacy rule that had been adopted by the FCC in October 2016.[82] Blackburn's measure, which was supported by broadband providers but criticized by privacy advocates, repealed the rule which required broadband providers to obtain consumers' permission before sharing their online data, including browsing histories.[82][83] The measure passed the House in a party-line vote in March 2017, after a similar measure had been passed by the Senate the same week.[82] She subsequently proposed legislation which expanded the requirement to include internet companies as well as broadband providers.[84]

As of 2017, Blackburn had accepted at least $693,000 in campaign contributions from telecom companies over her career in Congress.[85][86]

LGBT rights

Blackburn opposes same-sex marriage.[87] In 2010, Blackburn voted against repealing the military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy.[88]

In 2013, Blackburn voted in favor of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act in the House,[89] but voted against the Senate's version of the Act, which expanded VAWA to apply to new groups, such as men in same-sex relationships, as well as to conduct that the original VAWA had not classified as violence, such as stalking.[citation needed] Blackburn argued that increasing the number of targets for VAWA funding would "dilute the money that needs to go into the sexual assault centers, domestic abuse centers, child advocacy centers,"[90] and said VAWA ought to remain focused on supporting women's shelters and facilitating law enforcement against crimes against women, rather than addressing other groups or issues.[91]

Blackburn said that the Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges was "a disappointment. I have always supported traditional marriage. Despite this decision, no one can overrule the truth about what marriage actually is -- a sacred institution between a man and a woman."[92]

Donald Trump

Blackburn is a staunch supporter of Donald Trump, and has backed most of his policies and proposals.[35][38]

In November, 2016, Blackburn joined Donald Trump's presidential transition team as vice chair.[93] In a November 2, 2016, interview Blackburn advised the transition team to be "very judicious" with their words.[94]


She supported President Donald Trump's 2017 executive order imposing a temporary travel and immigration ban barring the nationals of seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S.[95]

Women's issues

In 2009, Backburn voted against the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act and the Paycheck Fairness Act.[96]

Personal life

Blackburn is married to Chuck Blackburn,[6] and they live in Brentwood, a suburb of Nashville in Williamson County.[20] The couple have two children.[6] Her husband is the founder of the International Bow Tie Society (IBTS). She is a Presbyterian.[5]

She is a member of The C Street Family, a prayer group that includes members of Congress.[97] She is a former member of the Smithsonian Libraries Advisory Board.[20]

See also References
  1. ^ "Representative Marsha Wedgeworth Blackburn (R-Tennessee, 7th) - Biography". Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
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  4. ^ a b "Mississippi State University Libraries: Congressional and Political Research Center: Collections: The Marsha Blackburn Collection". Retrieved 2017-02-26. 
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  15. ^ Andrews, Helena (April 15, 2008). "The lady prefers 'congressman'". Politico. 
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  17. ^ Elizabeth Bewley (March 6, 2012). "Blackburn says Romney victory in TN wouldn't surprise her". The Tennessean. 
  18. ^ David Lightman and Chris Echegaray (November 16, 2010). "TN senators back freeze on special spending". The Tennessean. p. 2. 
  19. ^ Collins, Michael (April 30, 2018). "Three Tennessee Republicans sign letter formally nominating Donald Trump for Nobel Prize". The Tennessean. USA Today Network. Retrieved 3 May 2018. 
  20. ^ a b c d "Marsha Blackburn Congress". Marsha Blackburn Biography. Retrieved 2016-11-16. 
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  91. ^ "Congresswoman Votes Against VAWA Because of LGBT Inclusiveness". The Advocate. Retrieved 2017-10-25. I didn't like the way it was expanded to include other different groups...What you need is something that is focused specifically to help the shelters and to help out law enforcement who is trying to work with the crimes that have been committed against women and helping them to stand up 
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  96. ^ Dickson, Caitlin (2013-06-09). "The Fringe Factor: Women Don't Want Equal Pay Laws". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 2018-05-09. 
  97. ^ Inside The C Street House Archived 2009-07-24 at the Wayback Machine.,, July 21, 2009.
External links Wikimedia Commons has media related to Marsha Blackburn. Wikiquote has quotations related to: Marsha Blackburn Tennessee Senate Preceded by
Keith Jordan Member of the Tennessee Senate
from the 23rd district

1999–2003 Succeeded by
Jim Bryson U.S. House of Representatives Preceded by
Ed Bryant Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 7th congressional district

2003–present Incumbent Party political offices Preceded by
Bob Corker Republican nominee for U.S. Senator from Tennessee
(Class 1)

2018 Most recent Current U.S. order of precedence (ceremonial) Preceded by
Rob Bishop United States Representatives by seniority
96th Succeeded by
Michael Burgess Tennessee's current delegation to the United States CongressSenators Representatives
(ordered by district) Other states' delegations Non-voting delegations Current members of the United States House of RepresentativesPresiding Officer: Speaker Paul Ryan (R)Majority partyCurrent Republican Party conferenceMajority Leader: Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip: Steve Scalise Minority partyCurrent Democratic Party caucusMinority Leader: Nancy Pelosi, Minority Whip: Steny Hoyer, Assistant Minority Leader: Jim Clyburn Tennessee's delegation(s) to the 108th–115th United States Congresses (ordered by seniority) 108th Senate: B. Frist • L. Alexander House: B. Gordon • J. Duncan Jr. • J. Tanner • Z. Wamp • H. Ford Jr. • W. Jenkins • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • L. Davis 109th Senate: B. Frist • L. Alexander House: B. Gordon • J. Duncan Jr. • J. Tanner • Z. Wamp • H. Ford Jr. • W. Jenkins • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • L. Davis 110th Senate: L. Alexander • B. Corker House: B. Gordon • J. Duncan Jr. • J. Tanner • Z. Wamp • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • L. Davis • S. Cohen • D. Davis 111th Senate: L. Alexander • B. Corker House: B. Gordon • J. Duncan Jr. • J. Tanner • Z. Wamp • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • L. Davis • S. Cohen • P. Roe 112th Senate: L. Alexander • B. Corker House: J. Duncan Jr. • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • S. Cohen • P. Roe • D. Black • S. DesJarlais • S. Fincher • C. Fleischmann 113th Senate: L. Alexander • B. Corker House: J. Duncan Jr. • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • S. Cohen • P. Roe • D. Black • S. DesJarlais • S. Fincher • C. Fleischmann 114th Senate: L. Alexander • B. Corker House: J. Duncan Jr. • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • S. Cohen • P. Roe • D. Black • S. DesJarlais • S. Fincher • C. Fleischmann 115th Senate: L. Alexander • B. Corker House: J. Duncan Jr. • J. Cooper • M. Blackburn • S. Cohen • P. Roe • D. Black • S. DesJarlais • C. Fleischmann • D. Kustoff Authority control

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Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn

Marsha Blackburn

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