Haslam: ‘I am not calculating running for the Senate’

Gov.  Bill Haslam says he expects Bob Corker to run for reelection to the U.S. Senate next year and speculation about his own future, including a bid for the seat, has been “way overread,” reports the Times-Free Press.

“They just said what are you going to do next? I said I have no idea,” Haslam told reporters during a “town hall” meeting (in Cookeville) to promote his proposed IMPROVE Act, which seeks to increase fuel taxes for Tennessee transportation projects while simultaneously cutting non-highway taxes in several areas.

Haslam, who is term limited and will leave office in January 2019, was asked at this week’s Tennessee Press Association and The Associated Press meeting about what he intends to do when his term ends.

“They said, well, you didn’t rule out running for Senate, and I said I have no idea what I’m going to do,” the governor said. “So I am not calculating running for the Senate.”

Asked if Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, has indicated what his future plans are, Haslam said, “my assumption is that he’s going to run for the Senate again. I haven’t heard anything from Sen. Corker that made me feel like he was going to do anything except that.”

… Since November elections in which Republicans maintained their Senate majority and Corker kept his prime spot as chairman, the senator has been vague about his political future and the possibility of running again for Senate or running for governor.

“I just don’t want to go down the path of starting bringing in options,” the former Chattanooga mayor said in a December interview… “What we do is something we’ll be thinking about over the course of the next several months.”

The newspaper further reports that Andy Ogles, Tennessee director of Americans for Prosperity, “didn’t exactly quash” speculation that he will run for the U.S. Senate next year, acknowledging “there has been  speculation along those lines” and adding, “We’ll have another conversation in a few months.”

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