Blackburn denounces Kavanaugh allegations as 'smear' while Bredesen calls for hearing

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn introduces Vice President Mike Pence at a tax policy event Saturday in Cleveland. Pence also spoke at a fundraiser for Blackburn later that day in Chattanooga.

NASHVILLE - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn is urging that a confirmation vote go forward on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh despite allegations raised by a woman who now publicly accuses the nominee of having sexually assaulted her while in high school.

photo Marsha Blackburn and Phil Bredesen

But Democrat Phil Bredesen is calling for another Senate hearing on the allegations.

In a statement, Congressman Blackburn called the allegations made in a letter written by Christine Blasey Ford that is now being raised by Senate Democrats a "delay tactic" and a "smear."

"Dr. Ford should testify under oath, and Senator [Chuck] Grassley should proceed with the vote as scheduled," Blackburn said. "[Senate Democratic Leader] Chuck Schumer has bought and paid for Phil Bredesen's campaign. Chuck Schumer is telling the Democrats to delay while they attempt an 11th hour smear of Judge Kavanaugh, and Phil Bredesen is already doing what he's told to do."

Earlier, Bredesen tweeted that "Dr. Christine Blasey Ford should be heard. If U.S senators are not going to give a careful and thorough consideration of Supreme Court nominees, then I don't know what they think their job is."

Meanwhile, the man both Blackburn and Bredesen are battling to succeed, Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Chattanooga, told CNN that if Ford wants to testify publicly, there should be a delay on the confirmation.

"I think that would be best for all involved, including the nominee," Corker told Politico. "If she does want to be heard, she should do so promptly."

Concerns have also been raised by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., after Ford confirmed it was she who had written a letter in which she described a high school incident more than 30 years ago.

Ford later alleged in a Washington Post interview that Kavanaugh "groped" her over her clothes, ground his body against hers while clumsily trying to pull off her clothes and covered her mouth when she tried to scream.

Republicans only hold a razor-thin 51-49 majority in the Senate.