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Tennessee Voices: James Mackler

Tennessee Voices: James Mackler

By David Plazas

The Tennessean

May 19, 2020

When GOP U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander announced he was retiring at the end of his third term, it created the second open Senate seat for Tennessee in two election cycles.

Former Sen. Bob Corker, also a Republican, chose not to run for reelection in 2018.

James Mackler, an attorney, a U.S. Army veteran and a Democrat, began his Senate campaign then and started to travel a red state and make his pitch for why he should be elected. He stepped aside when former Gov. Phil Bredesen entered the race.

In 2020, Mackler decided he wanted to fight for the nomination. While he is among five Democrats on the Aug. 6 primary, he is running his campaign as if he is the nominee.

We talked about how politics have changed in the COVID-19 era for this episode of Tennessee Voices. We also discussed that even in a polarized political environment, conversations around topics like health care are universal.

We delved into how faith plays a role in his life and what freedom means to him at a time when coronavirus-caused business closures have renewed the conversation around what it means to be free.

Mackler spends most of his time on his campaign, which he has been doing via Zoom or other virtual platforms. However, his family did adopt a German shepherd, creating new joy and responsibilities for the Macklers.