By JONATHAN MATTISE, Associated Press

NASHVILLE (AP) - Former Tennessee Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen and Republican U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn are on a collision course to claim their own slices of history in a critical U.S. Senate race.

Blackburn would be the first woman Tennessee ever elected to the Senate.

Bredesen could reinvigorate a state Democratic Party that hasn't won statewide since he did in his 2006 re-election. The last Tennessee Democrat to win a Senate seat was former Vice President Al Gore in 1990.

Bredesen and Blackburn made their November matchup official with easy primary wins Thursday. The race could cut into a slim Republican Senate majority.

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean used Bredesen's moderate playbook to easily win the primary for governor Thursday. Businessman Bill Lee topped a four-way Republican primary to face Dean this fall.

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