Sen. Bob Corker may “un-retire.”
According to a report Monday evening in Politico, the Tennessee Republican who said months ago that he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2018 is being urged by party leaders to reconsider his decision.
And, Politico reported, he is “listening.”
The attempt is the result of polling that indicates a possible Roy Moore-type scenario — the Republican primary is won by someone unacceptable to the general electorate even in a very conservative state and the Democrats win.
Citing a “person close to” Mr. Corker, Politico reported that while the senator “hasn’t made any commitments,” he is “listening to the concerns that have been raised.”
CNN reported similarly Monday.
“Several sources say the issue has come up in recent conversations Corker has had with fellow Tennessean Sen. Lamar Alexander and with South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, two of Corker’s friends. It also came up at least once in a conversation with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell,” CNN reported.
Local media are reporting that the conversations have not yet changed Mr. Corker’s mind.
“It is true that Senator Corker has been encouraged by people across Tennessee and in the Senate to reconsider his decision, but at this point nothing has changed,” a senior adviser to Corker told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Tennessee should be as safe a Republican seat as Alabama, especially with an incumbent like Mr. Corker running.
But since Mr. Corker announced in September that he’d retire, Reps. Marsha Blackburn and Stephen Fincher have tossed their hats into the ring, with Mrs. Blackburn favored to win.
On the Democratic side, sensing the possibility of a pickup opportunity, popular former Gov. Phil Bredesen also has entered the race.
According to an internal poll obtained by Politico, Mr. Bredesen edged out Mrs. Blackburn in a hypothetical race, by 47 percent to 45 percent. Politico reported that the poll sample was overweighted with Republicans, suggesting that Mrs. Blackburn might be a difficult sell even in conservative Tennessee.
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