Tennessee’s Bob Corker (R) yesterday became the first in-cycle Senator to announce that he will not seek re-election next year. Earlier, the head of Tennessee’s Americans for Prosperity chapter, Andy Ogles, had announced a primary challenge, and several million had already been pledged in hopes of denying Mr. Corker re-nomination. But, there is little evidence to suggest that a challenge is the fundamental reason for the Senator’s retirement decision.
Now as an open seat, observers look to possible Corker successors. A movement is forming to encourage former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Crockett County) to become a Senate candidate. The Congressman retired before the 2016 election because of a family illness, a situation that has improved. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) already confirms that she is considering entering the newly open statewide campaign. The new development also may encourage Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen, the Democrats’ top recruitment prospect, to declare his candidacy. Republicans are favored to hold, but this campaign has suddenly become more interesting.
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