Credit Al Drago for The New York Times
WASHINGTON — Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, announced on Tuesday that he will not seek re-election next year, a move that is likely to set off a scramble that will pit mainstream Republicans against those from President Trump’s populist wing of the party.
Mr. Corker, 65, an establishment Republican who joined the Senate in 2007, would likely have drawn a primary challenge from the right — and hinted as much in his statement announcing his retirement, which said he had always been drawn to the idea of a “citizen legislator”.
“I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months,” Mr. Corker said, “and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career.”
Mr. Corker’s decision not to run again creates the first open Senate seat of the 2018 election cycle. Jennifer Duffy, an analyst with the nonpartisan Cook Political report, predicted Republicans “will have a free-for-all in terms of the nomination.”
One likely candidate is Joe Carr, a Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully challenged Tennessee’s other Republican senator, Lamar Alexander, last year. Others are Representative Marsha Blackburn, a staunch Trump ally, and possibly retired football great Peyton Manning, a star quarterback at the University of Tennessee.
Source: New York Times