- Associated Press - Sunday, October 22, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A former congressman from Tennessee is joining the race to succeed Republican Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate.

Former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, a gospel-singing farmer from the rural western Tennessee community of Frog Jump, announced his bid in a statement to media on Sunday.

Fincher, 44, enters the 2018 Republican primary after finishing a 10-day statewide tour to discuss the race.

“Tennesseans are fed up with Washington dysfunction, special interests and the failure of career politicians to deliver results,” Fincher said. “I am as frustrated as they are. To use a phrase from the farming business, what Washington needs is to be plowed - turn the ground over and grow something new.”

He’ll face Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a suburban Nashville Republican who jumped into the race with a polished campaign video within an hour of Gov. Bill Haslam’s announcement that he would not run.

Fincher was elected to Congress in the tea party-fueled election of 2010. His announcement that he wouldn’t seek fourth term in 2016 came as a surprise to many political observers.

Corker announced on Sept. 26 that he wouldn’t run for Senate again.

Fincher said Tennesseans have a right to be frustrated with career politicians and that Congress can, and must, do a better job.

“I pledge to bring Tennessee values and common sense to the job every day so that we can solve the problems that face Tennesseans and Americans. We are going to fight for balanced budgets, less regulation, lower taxes and peace through strength, and we are going to fix the broken health care system. Conservative solutions - that’s what we need and what we will bring to Washington.”

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