Tennessee’s Republican movers and shakers probably weren’t expecting pollution to be a major issue in this year’s Senate race. Since Al Gore vacated his Senate seat in 1993 to serve as Bill Clinton’s vice president, Tennesseans have elected only Republicans to the chamber and the GOP has become nearly synonymous with environmental deregulation.

But Marquita Bradshaw’s surprise win in the state’s Democratic primary in August has made environmental justice one of the race’s signature issues.

 The question now is whether, after 27 years, Tennesseans will spring a surprise and elect a Democrat to replace retiring three-term Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander — this time, a Black woman who is emblematic of the party’s new blue wave of progressives.
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