NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jimmy Tosh’s sprawling hog farm in rural Tennessee is an unlikely battleground in the fight for control of the U.S. Senate.
Yet his 15,000 acres (6,000 hectares) two hours west of Nashville showcase the practical risks of President Donald Trump’s trade policies and the political threat to red-state Republican Senate candidates such as Tennessee’s Marsha Blackburn.
Tosh, a third-generation farmer who almost always votes Republican, said he’s voting this fall for Blackburn’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Phil Bredesen, in part because Trump’s trade wars are hurting his family business — a sizable one with some 400 employees and 30,000 pigs. The cost of steel needed for new barns is up, Tosh said, and the expanding pork market stands to suffer under new tariffs.
“This tariff situation has got me very, very, very concerned,” Tosh told The Associated Press. “I just think Bredesen would be better on that situation.” He said Blackburn has shifted “toward the center” on tariffs, “but in my opinion, it’s a little late and not far enough.”
Similar concerns are roiling high-profile Senate contests in Missouri, Indiana, Pennsylvania and North Dakota and forcing GOP candidates to answer for the trade policies of a Republican president they have backed on almost every other major issue.