Phil Bredesen backs Eric Stewart in 4th District

photo Gov. Phil Bredesen addresses the audience at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

MURFREESBORO - Former Gov. Phil Bredesen largely has avoided the partisan political arena since leaving office 20 months ago, but the Democrat is making an exception.

At a fundraiser this week, Bredesen gave a endorsement of 4th Congressional District hopeful Eric Stewart, a state senator who is challenging U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., in the Nov. 6 election.

"I think so highly of Eric that I've kind of semi come out of retirement here to come out and try to do anything I possibly can to help him in this campaign," Bredesen told attendees Tuesday in Murfreesboro.

The former governor said Stewart, who was elected to the Senate in 2008, impressed him during his own final two years in office by his willingness to work out differences on tough issues while keeping constituents' needs in mind.