Though donating to Blackburn, Corker says Bredesen is ‘an outstanding public servant’

Sen. Bob Corker says that – though declaring he will donate to fellow Republican Marsha Blackburn’s campaign to succeed him in the U.S. Senate —  says he will not work against Democrat Phil Bredesen and believes the “outstanding public servant” will get a lot of Republican votes.

Corker’s comments came in an interview with the National Journal. Bredesen says he “obviously was pleased” to hear the comments, which follow ’s conversations with Corker earlier this year suggesting the senator either run for governor or reelection, reports the Times Free Press.

“I certainly do not plan to be working against somebody who is a friend and who has served our state ably,” Corker said of Bredesen, The National Journal reported Friday. “We’ve worked together to build a great state.”

Corker noted that as state finance commissioner in the mid-1990s for then-Republican Gov. Don Sundquist, he worked with then-Nashville Mayor Bredesen to bring the NFL’s Houston Oilers to Nashville, where the team is now known as the Tennessee Titans.

And in 2008, Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor first elected in 2006 to the Senate, and Bredesen, then governor, worked together again to help bring Volkswagen’s auto assembly plant to Chattanooga.

“He [Bredesen] is a very substantial person,” Corker told The National Journal. “And he no doubt will attract a lot of Republican votes.”

“Look,” Corker said in the interview. “I think Gov. Bredesen would be good at almost anything he put his mind to doing. He did a very good job in business, he did a very good job as mayor [of Nashville], he did a very good job as governor. He’s been an outstanding public servant.”

…On a campaign swing in Jackson on Saturday, Bredesen said in a Times Free Press interview he “obviously was pleased” Corker won’t be campaigning against him. “I appreciate that from him. And the feeling is mutual.”

As for the Blackburn campaign’s thoughts on Bredesen, they couldn’t be much clearer.

“Phil Bredesen will be a solid vote for Chuck Schumer and Obama, Clinton-era liberal policies, and Tennesseans are not interested in that,” campaign spokeswoman Abbi Sigler wrote in an emailed response to a request for comment.

…”I think over the last couple of years, in particular, as he’s sort of been working his way through the new world up in Washington, we’ve had several occassions to talk about that kind of stuff as well,” Bredesen said. “To say he’s been a personal friend, to me it always seems so bizarre that you can’t be personal friends if you’re on opposite sides of the politcal aisle or something like that.”

Bredesen repeated previous comments that “I never would have gotten in the race” had Corker sought a third Senate term.

And Bredesen also confirmed a story that’s made the rounds inside top Republican circles that at one point, when Corker was mulling running for governor, he gave Corker some advice.

“I mean, he asked me my advice about that,” said Bredesen, who served two terms as governor, leaving office in early 2011. “I guess what I specifically told him was, if you want the job that’s most fun, you ought to run for governor. And if you want the job that’s probably most useful to the country today, stay where you are.”

Note: Corker sent out a tweet on April 9 declaring: Now that the Republican primary has essentially concluded, I am sending a contribution to Representative Marsha Blackburn’s campaign and wish her well in her race for the U.S. Senate.

The Tennessean’s story on the tweet, which followed the state Republican party disqualifying several candidates running against her in the Republican primary, is HERE. Previous post on the Republican Executive Committee’s April 7 disqualification of seven Senate candidates is HERE.

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