Here is a list of who may replace Bob Corker’s seat in the U.S. Senate.
NASHVILLEÂ â€” Since 1990 when Al Gore was elected to his second Senate term, Tennessee Democrats haven’t won a U.S. Senate election.
But with GOP Sen. Bob Corker’s recent decision to retire next year,Â some are consideringÂ capitalizing on what President Trump’s detractors are hoping will be a midterm election revolt.
“This is a political earthquake,â€ Lisa Quigley, chief of staff for Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said after Corkerâ€™s announcement. “Republicans will be nominating people who are running to the extreme, far right on issues that impact people’s lives like health care, infrastructure, taxes, and civil rights. The choices could not be more stark or consequential.â€
â–º Oct. 9: GOP senator’s spat with Trump could have long-term implications
â–º Oct. 9: Corker joins long list of Republican senators Trump has attacked on Twitter
â–º Oct. 9: Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway hits Corker for ‘irresponsible’ tweet
The state Republican Party’s most prominent moderate, Gov. Bill Haslam, has said he will not run for Corker’s seat. After two terms, Haslam, who was elected in 2010, can’t run again for governor, so Corker’s decision makes two statewide offices that will be open season.
And the online video that Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., made in her bid for Corker’s seat was anÂ unabashed, far-right play to Trumpâ€™s Tennessee base. She is considered the GOP frontrunner.
â–º Oct. 8: Corker calls White House ‘adult day care’
â–º Oct. 5: Tennessee Rep. Marsha Blackburn launches Senate bid
Another Republican with congressional experience, former Rep. Stephen Fincher, begins a statewide listening tour this week to mull a run.Â The Memphis native who now lives in Halls, Tenn., finished his third House term in January.
Among the Democrats running or considering a run:
â€¢ Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, re-elected to a second term earlier this year. Corker also had served as Chattanooga mayor before launching his campaign.
â€œI think I have something to add to the debate, and right now itâ€™s a question of whether Iâ€™m going to end up in the race,â€ he said, adding that voters want to see an a government â€œunited in purpose to try to build our economy and grow our middle class.”
â€¢ State Rep. John Ray Clemmons of Nashville, who is in his second term, said he would make a decision before the holidays.
“We’re going to be popping around the state and talking to folks making sure the Democratic Party has the best possible option in that U.S. Senate race,” Clemmons said.
â€¢ James Mackler, a Nashville lawyer and an Iraq War veteran, announced his candidacy in April before Corker decided against a third term.
“I got into this race six months ago against a popular, well-known senator when people said, ‘There’s no way that you can win this race’ because I saw what was going wrong in Washington,” he said. “I do what’s right, not necessarily what’s easy.”
Democrats last fielded a competitive U.S. Senate candidate in Tennessee in 2006Â when then-Rep. Harold Ford Jr. of Memphis lost to Corker by 3 percentage points. That win began Corker’s Senate service.
Former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen, who won his statewide officeÂ in 2002 and 2006, has said he’s not interested in running.
The field for both parties won’t be narrowed until primaries on Aug. 2, a mere three months before the general election.
â–º Oct. 1: Corker says White House undergoing ‘transformative’ changes
â–º Sept. 26: Sen. Bob Corker will not run for re-election in 2018
The Cook Political Report, led by political analystÂ Charlie Cook,Â moved the Tennessee Senate Race from â€œsolidly Republicanâ€ to â€œlikely Republicanâ€ after Corkerâ€™s decision.
â€œWith Corker stepping down, the chances of Democrats taking the Senate seat went from less than a percent to probably about 20% at least,” said John Geer, Vanderbilt University political science professor. “If (the Republican nominee) has to campaign to the extreme to get the nomination, that gives the Democrats an opening.”
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