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Dark Horse Marsha Blackburn in New Hampshire Looking at 2016 Bid

April 10, 2014 - 6:00pm
A dark-horse candidate has emerged in the early stages of the Republican presidential contest. U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., heads to New Hampshire on Saturday as aides and associates tell the media that she could be looking at running for the presidency in 2016.

Blackburn joins three much better known 2016 presidential possibilities -- U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, former Gov. Mike Huckabee, R-Ark., and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. -- at a 501c(3) event put on by Americans for Prosperity Foundationand Citizens United in Manchester.

A Blackburn aide told Real Clear Politics that the congresswoman is contemplating running for the Republican nod in 2016 and thats what led to her appearance in New Hampshire, the traditional home of the first presidential primary.

If theres a door to kick down, shes willing to kick it down, the aide told Real Clear Politics These are the kinds of events you go to -- test the waters, and see what the reaction is.

There is kind of a void to fill there, the aide added. Whenever theres been a need for leadership or someone to get out there and fight the fight, shes always been the first in line and shes not afraid of it. Shes not afraid to go toe to toe with anybody.

Rising up the ranks of the Tennessee Republican Party, Blackburn was elected to the state Senate in 1998 before being elected to Congress in 2002. During her time in Washington, Blackburn has ranked as a solid fiscal and social conservative, winning national headlines for her attempts to limit abortion and her criticism of proponents of global warming, including former Vice President Al Gore. Earlier this year, Blackburn debated science television personality Bill Nye on NBCs Meet the Press over global warming.

Blackburn will be looking to buck history if she enters the presidential contest. Besides no woman ever winning a major partys presidential nomination, no sitting member of the U.S. House has been elected president since James Garfield, who was still in the House despite just being elected to the U.S. Senate, won the 1880 election. Blackburn would be the fourth president from Tennessee following in the footsteps of Andrew Jackson, James K. Polk and Andrew Johnson, all of whom served in the White House during the 19th century.

Still, members of the U.S. House have shaped presidential elections in recent years, with the likes of former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, shaping the 2012 Republican presidential primaries. Regardless, Blackburn is seen as much more likely to shape the debates and contest than win the Republican nomination.

Reach Kevin Derby at

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