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As Phil Bredesen, the former Democratic governor of Tennessee now running for Senate, was wrapping up a voter forum at Rhodes College recently, the liberal-leaning mix of students, faculty and local residents began to grow restless from his unapologetically moderate brand of politics.

Finally, an audience member stood up and drew scattered applause by saying that supporters of Mr. Bredesen were “a little bit troubled” by his vow to back President Trump when he thinks the president is right. On what issues, the candidate was asked, would you support or oppose Mr. Trump?

A Changing Tennessee Weighs a Moderate or Conservative for Senate

Phil Bredesen, the Democrat, has a centrist approach in a state that traditionally embraced moderates. His campaign is testing whether that is still viable in Tennessee.


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