Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn Counters Taylor Swift’s Instagram Smear

‘Of course I support women …’

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Marsha Blackburn/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

(Alex Gangitano, CQ-Roll Call) Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for Senate in Tennessee, responded to music superstar Taylor Swift for endorsing her Democratic opponent in an Instagram post on Monday.

The congresswoman went on “Fox & Friends First” Wednesday to outline the ways that she has worked for women after Swift said on social medial that Blackburn’s “voting record in Congress appalls and terrifies” her.

The musician said Blackburn voted against equal pay for women and against the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, supported a business’s right to refuse service to gay couples and believes gay couples shouldn’t have the right to marry.

Blackburn countered by touting her exemplary record in representing the issues that matter most to women in Tennessee.

“Of course I support women and I want violence to end against women. I have been very active in abuse shelters and in child advocacy centers, I’ve been advocating for women and equal pay since I was 19 years old and making certain that women have the opportunity for maximum pay,” Blackburn said.

She listed a litany of civic groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Fraternal Order of Police, that had endorsed her.

Blackburn is running against former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who has struggled to shed his image as an elitist liberal in his effort to connect with more rural voters.

Bredesen also alienated Democratic groups by expressing support for Justice Brett Kavanaugh‘s confirmation and saying he would vote to oust Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., from his leadership post.

After running behind Bredesen for the past several months, a RealClearPolitics poll showed Blackburn had managed to close the gap and gained a slight advantage over him last week, about 2.7 percent—which likely fell within the margin of error, making it a tossup.

However, the impact of Swift’s endorsement to her 112 million followers—and the resulting media coverage—had yet to be fully assessed.

Vote.org, which Swift mentioned in her post, reported an unprecedented spike in registrations through the site, which it credited to Swift.

Nationwide, it said, nearly 71,000 people ages 18-24 registered to vote between Sunday and Tuesday, 45 percent of the roughly 159,000 voters who registered in that three-day period. The time span also reflected the final voting registration deadline in about 20 states.

Swift continued her push on Tuesday night. While accepting the award for Artist of the Year at the American Music Awards, she encouraged people to “get out and vote.”

(Roll Call’s Griffin Connolly and Liberty Headlines’ Ben Sellers contributed to this report.)

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