Almanac A members-only database of searchable profiles compiled and adapted from the Almanac of American Politics

Biography

Elected: 2002, 6th term.

Born: June 6, 1952, Laurel, MS

Home: Franklin, TN

Education: MS St. U., B.S. 1973

Professional Career: Retail marketing consultant, 1973-98.

Ethnicity: White/Caucasian

Religion: Presbyterian

Family: Married (Chuck Blackburn) , 2 children ; 2 grandchildren

Marsha Blackburn, a Republican elected in 2002, is a conservative firebrand who has become a frequent GOP presence on television. Her penchant for tossing rhetorical bombs—in early 2013, she called for shutting down the government as a potential negotiating tactic—draws either passionate cheers and or boos from opposing ends of the political spectrum.

Blackburn grew up in Laurel, Miss., where her father sold oil-field production equipment. Her interest in gardening and canning won her a 4-H college scholarship at Mississippi State University, where she majored in merchandising and clothing. She helped pay her way through college by selling books door-to-door. She then became a sales manager for Southwestern Company, which sells educational materials, and moved to Williamson County. Her hilltop home is known as “Up Yonder,” named by its former owner, Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl. Blackburn became director of retail fashion for a Nashville department store and was appointed by Republican Gov. Don Sundquist as executive director of the Tennessee Film, Entertainment, and Music Commission. In 1992, she was the Republican nominee against Democrat Bart Gordon in the 6th District and lost 57%-41%. Blackburn was elected in 1998 to the Tennessee Senate, where she became an outspoken opponent of Sundquist’s proposed income tax.

When Republican Rep. Ed Bryant decided to run for the Senate, Blackburn ran for his seat. Seven candidates ran in the GOP primary, three of them familiar figures in the Memphis area. Blackburn was the only well-known candidate from the Nashville area. She benefited from financial support of the national anti-tax group Club for Growth and from attacks by the Shelby County candidates on one another. She ran as anti-abortion rights, pro-gun, and pro-military conservative and won with 40% of the vote, while the other candidates split the rest. She went on to easily win the general election.

In the House, Blackburn is active on the Republican Study Committee, the caucus of the House’s most right-leaning members, and in 2012, she co-chaired the GOP’s Platform Committee in advance of its national convention. The platform included a plank that called for outlawing abortion and allowing no exceptions, including rape, incest, or threat to the life of the mother. She said the provision took nothing away from individual states’ right to adopt those exceptions. She cosponsored the controversial “birther” bill in 2009 requiring future presidential candidates to prove they were born in the United States, a measure that played off groundless attacks from the right on Obama’s legal fitness to hold office. In February 2011, she sponsored an amendment to cut spending for most non-defense programs by 5.5%, but 92 members of her party joined Democrats in arguing that it went too far, and it failed. Several other amendments she proposed to cut spending on various programs also were rejected.

A champion of gun owners’ rights, Blackburn has boasted about her perfect marksmanship score with her Smith & Wesson .38. After the Newtown, Conn., elementary school massacre, she said the debate should focus on mental health, because disturbed people disposed toward violence could use “a hammer, a hatchet, a car” instead of a gun. Among her admirers are Mary Matalin, a conservative adviser to several GOP presidents, and former Vice President Dick Cheney, who told The Tennessean of Nashville in 2012 that Blackburn is “relentlessly common-sensible.”

With her party controlling the House in 2011, Blackburn assumed a more prominent role on technology policy as a member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. A fervent advocate of the music industry central to her district, she has fought to protect intellectual property rights of artists against illegal music downloads. She also has been a fierce critic of the Obama administration’s efforts to regulate the Internet, introducing a bill that would clarify that such a task is solely Congress’ responsibility. She was also active in the failed effort to repeal Obama’s health care legislation. In the 113th Congress (2013-14), she was named the committee’s vice chairman, providing reassurance to conservatives who were skeptical about Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich., a moderate.

After the 2006 election, she was one of four candidates for chairman of the Republican Conference, but she was eliminated on the second ballot. Instead, she became communications chair for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

In 2008, Blackburn faced a primary challenge from Shelby County Register of Deeds Tom Leatherwood, whose campaign gained ammunition when it was revealed Blackburn had misreported more than $440,000 on campaign finance disclosure forms dating to her first House campaign. Blackburn filed amended returns. The underdog Leatherwood also charged that Blackburn had used her campaign funds to help her family’s businesses and that she hadn’t been effective in Washington. But she easily won the primary, 62%-38%, carrying every county except Shelby. She won in November and hasn’t been seriously challenged since then.

In 2009, Blackburn wrote a book, Life Equity: Realize Your True Value and Pursue Your Passions at Any Stage in Life. She told The Tennessean that it was not intended to be political, but rather a “book of encouragement and empowerment for women.”

Office Contact Information

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2811

(202) 225-3004

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2266
Washington, DC 20515-4207

MAIN OFFICE

(202) 225-2811

(202) 225-3004

RHOB- Rayburn House Office Building Room 2266
Washington, DC 20515-4207

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-2811

(202) 225-3004

305 Public Square Suite 212
Franklin, TN 37064-2584

DISTRICT OFFICE

(615) 591-5161

(615) 599-2916

305 Public Square Suite 212
Franklin, TN 37064-2584

DISTRICT OFFICE

(202) 225-2811

(202) 225-3004

128 North Second Street Suite 202
Clarksville, TN 37040-2400

DISTRICT OFFICE

(931) 503-0391

(931) 503-0393

128 North 2nd Street Suite 202
Clarksville, TN 37040-2400

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

(202) 225-2811

(202) 225-3004

4916 Thoroughbred Lane Suite 4916
Brentwood, TN 37027-4226

CAMPAIGN OFFICE

6103 Murray Lane
Brentwood, TN 37027-6209

EXPORT CONTACTS » *

Staff

Sort by: Interest Name Title

Agriculture

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Budget

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Crime

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Energy

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Environment

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Finance

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Govt Ops

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Melissa Wardwell
Legislative Correspondent

Gun Issues

Melissa Wardwell
Legislative Correspondent

Health

Kristi Thompson
Senior Health Policy Advisor

Homeland Security

Grace Burch
Scheduler

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Immigration

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Intelligence

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Intergovernmental

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Judiciary

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Labor

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Military

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Tax

Kristi Thompson
Senior Health Policy Advisor

Brian Maves
Legislative Assistant

Technology

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Telecommunications

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Trade

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Transportation

Charles Flint
Legislative Director

Election Results

2014 GENERAL
Marsha Blackburn
Votes: 110,498
Percent: 70.0%
Daniel Cramer
Votes: 42,260
Percent: 26.77%
2012 GENERAL
Marsha Blackburn
Votes: 182,730
Percent: 71.02%
Credo Amouzouvik
Votes: 61,679
Percent: 23.97%
2012 PRIMARY
Marsha Blackburn
Unopposed
2010 GENERAL
Marsha Blackburn
Votes: 158,916
Percent: 72.37%
Greg Rabidoux
Votes: 54,347
Percent: 24.75%
2010 PRIMARY
Marsha Blackburn
Votes: 97,088
Percent: 100.0%
2008 GENERAL
Marsha Blackburn
Votes: 217,332
Percent: 68.58%
Randy Morris
Votes: 99,549
Percent: 31.42%
2008 PRIMARY
Marsha Blackburn
Votes: 30,997
Percent: 61.97%
Tom Leatherwood
Votes: 19,025
Percent: 38.03%
Prior Winning Percentages
2010 (72%), 2008 (69%), 2006 (66%), 2004 (100%), 2002 (71%)

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