Tennessee Democratic Party ex-chairman backs James Mackler in U.S. Senate bid

Former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke speaks at a Times Free Press in this file photo.

NASHVILLE - Former Tennessee Democratic Party chairman Bob Tuke is standing by fellow military veteran James Mackler, the announced Senate Democratic candidate who learned Wednesday he may come under siege in the Democratic primary from as many as four rivals, including Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke.

A new Mackler campaign fund- raising appeal Thursday features Tuke, who served as a Marine in Vietnam, and ran unsuccessfully against Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., in 2008.

Mackler, a Nashville attorney and decorated Iraq war veteran, announced five months ago he was running and reported having raised some $500,000 as of June 30.

Berke, a former Democratic state senator, is one of four Democrats taking a look at jumping in following Tuesday's announcement that U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., would not seek re-election.

In the Mackler fundraising appeal, Tuke says "I'm writing to you because I believe there's something big missing in Washington today.