Marquita Bradshaw, one of six African-American candidates vying for seats today in the U. S. Senate, was feeling confident Monday night about her people-powered campaign.
“I’m proud to say that we have been reaching one million each week,” said Bradshaw, who seeks to fill the Tennessee seat being vacated by Republican Lamar Alexander. “That’s right, one million people a week. I just want to thank all my supporters who have worked so hard in this campaign.”
A last-push, “Get Out To Vote” event held outside of the Democratic Party nominee’s Memphis headquarters looked more like a victory celebration.
Supporters, friends and community leaders gathered behind the venue with a DJ, line dancing and a few rousing speeches.
Campaign manager Ken Taylor said there was good reason to celebrate on the eve of Election Day, even though the latest polls showed Bradshaw trailing Nashville businessman Bill Hagerty, the Republican contender.
“We have utilized new technology sending text messages,” said Taylor. “We’ve also done extensive door-knocking and phone calls. We have focused on the numbers, reaching as many people as we can with our message.”
Taylor is no stranger to political campaigns. In 2006, he was the college coordinator for Harold Ford Jr., who made an unsuccessful bid for the Senate seat vacated by retiring Bill Frist.
“Back then, I was able to get a sense of the importance of doing the hard work,” said Taylor. “I got to see first-hand how hard it is to recruit people and make phone calls. We were on the brink of a youth awakening. Two years later, Barack Obama was elected president.
Voter registration and voter education among young voters has been a big part of Bradshaw’s campaign.
Many things that matter to older voters also concern young people, Bradshaw added.
“People are concerned about this virus, they are concerned about jobs, and having good schools,” she said. “Everyone cares about those things. All of these things are on the ballot.”
If she is elected, Bradshaw would become the first African-American to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.
This is an historic election on many levels.
In neighboring Mississippi, former agriculture secretary Mike Espy is running on the Democratic Party ticket for U.S. Senate as well.
The other three Black Democrats running for Senate seats are Jaime Harrison in South Carolina, Raphael Warnock in Georgia and Adrian Perkins in Louisiana.
Additionally, John James, an African-American combat veteran, is the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Michigan.
In Tennessee, Bradshaw’s campaign has more than 500 volunteers working to get the message out.
“In addition to our volunteers, we have received calls from 35 different states from those interested in seeing this seat flipped,” said Taylor.
The U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee as of late has been a Republican stronghold. Bradshaw believes her campaign will be helped by a “blue wave” that will lift Democratic candidates on nationwide.
“I not only believe that I will win this seat,” Bradshaw said, “but I believe a blue wave will go up and down the ballot. Not only on the national level, but all up and down the ballot.”
Taylor announced that Bradshaw and her supporters will watch poll results on Tuesday evening at the Double Tree Hotel in Downtown Memphis.