Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen is joining the race to succeed Republican Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate.
Bredesen is the last Democrat to win a statewide election in Tennessee, a state that famously turned its back on favorite son Al Gore in the 2000 presidential election in favor of Republican George W. Bush.
Bredesen announced his candidacy in a campaign video posted on his website on Thursday morning. He had spent the previous day calling potential donors to let them know of his plans.
Bredesen grew up in a single-parent, working class home in Shortsville, New York, went to Harvard on an academic scholarship and earned a degree in physics.
He became a wealthy health care entrepreneur before winning two terms each as Nashville mayor and Tennessee governor.
Former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen has been calling potential donors to let them know he plans to join the race to succeed Republican Bob Corker in the U.S. Senate.
A prominent supporter confirmed he had spoken to Bredesen, the most recent Democrat to win a statewide race in Tennessee, about the decision Wednesday. He spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because an official announcement wasn't expected until Thursday.
A Bredesen spokesman did not return several messages seeking comment.
The Senate campaign of Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn wasted little time in attacking Bredesen as "a 74-year-old Democrat politician" who is out of touch with Tennessee values.
Bredesen earned his fortune as a health care entrepreneur and served two terms each as Nashville mayor and governor.
This story has been updated.