Corker sticks with decision against seeking reelection

Sen. Bob Corker has decided to stick with his decision not to seek reelection this year. The decision, which follows a period of reported reconsideration, was initially reported by Politico. Reax from U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is running for the Republican nomination to succeed him, Sen. Lamar Alexander, Democrat Phil Bredesen’s campaign and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee follow below.


From Politico’s report;

After listening to some Tennessee Republicans and GOP senators who were privately urging him to run, the two-term senator and Foreign Relations Committee chairman decided that this will be his last year as senator, said Todd Womack, Corker’s chief of staff. The move ends a period of intense speculation in Tennessee and Washington about Corker’s future and avoids what could have been an ugly primary between Corker and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

“He’s always believed and served as though he were only going to be in the Senate for two terms,” Womack said in an interview. “And he was willing to listen to folks but he really believes the decision he made in September was the right one and is going to be leaving the Senate at the end of the year.”

Corker has been speaking to President Donald Trump with some frequency in recent weeks after a tense back-and-forth between the two last fall. The White House made clear to the senator’s team that the president would not get involved in a potential primary between Corker and Blackburn, according to a source familiar with the conversations.

…Womack said that there was a “pathway” to the GOP nomination but it didn’t override Corker’s view that legislating is “best done when you get in … and then get out to let somebody else serve.”

“We spent the past two weeks laying out a path and there certainly was one,” Womack said. “What he would tell you is that serving in the Senate has been the privilege of his lifetime and when people approach you and ask you to reconsider you certainly do it.”

Statement from Marsha Blackburn campaign, distributed to media:

“I want to thank Senator Corker for his dedicated service on behalf of Tennessee families. Now, we can unify the Republican party and focus on defeating Democrat Phil Bredesen in November. As we continue to take our campaign to every corner of the state, I’m looking forward to listening to Tennesseans families and sharing my ideas on how we can get the United States Senate back to work and pass President Trump’s agenda.”

Statement from Democrat Phil Bredesen’s campaign:

“Governor Bredesen is glad to see the race taking shape and he remains focused on running a 95-county campaign to win in November. The contrast between candidates is now clear. Tennessee voters can pick someone who caused gridlock in Washington over the past 15 years — or they can hire someone who has a proven track record of working across the aisle to get things done for all Tennesseans.”

Statement from Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander

“Bob Corker is a terrific United States senator and a good friend. I was disappointed in his decision not to run for reelection but respect that decision. I invited Marsha Blackburn to breakfast this morning. We had a good discussion about a variety of issues that we both care about and how we might work together to make the Senate a more effective institution.”

Statement from the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:

“Republicans raised concerns over Congresswoman Blackburn because they know she is out of touch with Tennessee. Their public display of anxiety has not only underscored her vulnerabilities but revealed a point of agreement between Democrats and Republicans: Congresswoman Blackburn is not fit to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.”


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