The Tennessee Senate Race Is Complicated for Corker

He donated to Marsha Blackburn, but won’t campaign against Phil Bredesen.

Senate Committee on Foreign Relations chairman Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., listening to testimony by Britain's former Prime Minister David Cameron on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 13, 2018.
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
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Alex Rogers
April 12, 2018, 10 a.m.

Retiring Sen. Bob Corker announced this week that he contributed to Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s campaign to replace him in Tennessee. But don’t expect to see Corker out on the trail for his fellow Republican.

In a brief interview with National Journal on Tuesday, Corker said the forthcoming matchup between Blackburn and former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen will be “a real race” and that as a party leader he donated to the likely GOP nominee. But he won’t campaign against Bredesen, with whom Corker goes way back.

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

Corker noted he helped Bredesen bring the Tennessee Titans to Nashville in the 1990s and a Volkswagen plant to Chattanooga in 2008.

“He’s a very substantial person,” Corker said. “And he no doubt will attract a lot of Republican votes.”

“Look, I think Gov. Bredesen would be good at almost anything he put his mind to doing,” he added. “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.”

Alex Rogers


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