from the months since Corker announced he would certainly retire — along with publicly feuded with President Donald Trump — the GOP establishment along with outside forces have coalesced around Rep. Marsha Blackburn as his replacement in a race against Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen.
The prospect of a Corker re-election run has emerged in part due to concerns in which Blackburn can’t win in November, potentially flipping the Senate into Democratic hands.
although the item’s not clear in which Corker would certainly be a stronger candidate than Blackburn in a general election — along with Republicans believe he’d be the heavy underdog in a primary, creating a waste of time, money along with damaging the GOP’s overall election hopes.
Despite the odds, Corker, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham along with Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander have discussed a Corker run.
Blackburn will not step aside for Corker, said spokeswoman Andrea Bozek.
“Anyone who thinks Marsha Blackburn can’t win the general election is actually just a plain sexist pig,” Bozek said.
“She is actually the best fundraiser from the country along with is actually beating Phil Bredesen in several polls despite never even running statewide,” she said. “We aren’t worried about these ego-driven, tired old men. Marsha has spent her whole life fighting against people who told her she isn’t not bad enough along with she’s going to do the item again.”
While Washington chattered Monday about the prospect of a Corker re-election bid, Blackburn was in completely new York City courting top donors alongside Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
The trip underscored how fully Blackburn has been embraced by the GOP. The party’s establishment sees her as capable of beating Democratic former Gov. Phil Bredesen in a state President Donald Trump won by 26 percentage points in 2016. The Koch brothers political operation along with conservative group Club for Growth have also quickly aligned behind Blackburn’s campaign.
Corker’s second thoughts
Corker is actually torn about what to do, a source familiar with his thinking said. He has enjoyed being a senator along with having the influence in which he does. although after talking to some of his colleagues, along with having smoothed over his relationship with Trump, he’s starting to harbor second thoughts, multiple sources said.
He knows he has to make a decision, along with knows he would certainly have a tough fight against Blackburn if she continued to run, the sources said.
Alexander has spoken to Corker although is actually not pushing him to run, one source said. Corker, he believes, needs to make the decision soon.
Asked Monday by sy88pgw’s Manu Raju whether he is actually having second thoughts about retirement along with is actually considering running for re-election, Corker three times responded: “I don’t have anything to say.” He repeated those words when told his response would certainly be viewed as not ruling the item out.
Blackburn’s advantage with GOP voters
The Club for Growth conducted a poll in January in which several Republicans pointed to as they analyzed the race.
The poll found in which Blackburn is actually viewed favorably by 64% along with unfavorably by 12% of Republican primary voters — much better marks than Corker’s underwater 44% favorable along with 50% unfavorable ratings.
In an election cycle in which has seen a series GOP fundraising disappointments, Blackburn has been an exception. She raised $2 million from the first two months of her campaign along with had $4.6 million from the bank at the end of 2017. She’s already reserved $1 million in television advertising time on Tennessee’s airwaves through the late spring through the early-August primary.
Blackburn was among the Republicans who attended the California retreat hosted by the Koch brothers’ powerful donor network last month.
She was among the first candidates to get a check through Vice President Mike Pence when he launched a political action committee in November.
The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List rolled out its endorsement of Blackburn on Tuesday. along with Republican sources pointed out in which the GOP is actually in dire need of more women in its predominantly male Senate caucus.
Corker’s feud with Trump
Corker is actually perhaps best known nationally for his feud with Trump.
Trump claimed in October in which Corker “begged” for his endorsement along with “didn’t possess the guts” to run for re-election. He said Corker was responsible for the Iran nuclear deal — which Trump has opposed — along with “in which’s about the item.”
“I would certainly fully expect Corker to be a negative voice along with stand from the way of our great agenda. Didn’t possess the guts to run!” Trump tweeted.
Corker responded in a tweet of his own: “the item’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center. Someone obviously missed their shift This kind of morning.”
Corker’s words have manifested themselves in his voting pattern in Congress. In legislation along with nominations in which have been voted upon from the Senate, Corker has voted against the President more times than all although four Republican senators. He was the only Republican senator, for example, to vote against the initial design of the Republican tax cut. His voting pattern most closely resembles in which of Sen. John McCain along with Sen. Lisa Murkowski who voted against the Republican health care plan.
Corker’s defiance of Trump might be more acceptable to Republicans if he were through a blue or even purple state, although Tennessee is actually very red: No Democrat has won a Senate race there since Al Gore in 1990.
The Lugar experience
Corker could face a fate similar to former Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar if he runs for re-election. Lugar, the last elected senator to lose in a primary, faced an ad onslaught through Republican Richard Mourdock along with groups supporting him.
This kind of caused Lugar’s one time lead from the polls to disappear along with Lugar’s net favorability rating to drop 16 points in a month to 0 points. Even before facing any primary ads against him, Corker would certainly start in worse shape. Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake — facing similar problems — opted to retire rather than seek re-election This kind of year.
Another Tennessee Republican who was on in which flight: Marsha Blackburn.
sy88pgw’s Manu Raju along with Harry Enten contributed to This kind of report.