Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker is “listening closely” to people urging him to reconsider his decision to retire from the Senate, his spokeswoman told reporters Tuesday. The comment came after Politico reported Monday that Corker who had said he would not run for re-election later this year is reconsidering.
On Tuesday morning, asked about the report, Corker said he didn’t feel like talking.
But Corker spokeswoman Micah Johnson on Tuesday confirmed that Corker is at least having the conversation about reconsidering retirement.
“In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Sen. Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda,” Johnson told reporters. “The senator has been encouraged to reconsider his decision and is listening closely.”
It’s unclear who is urging him not to retire, since Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tennessee, is the current favorite for the nomination after Corker’s September retirement announcement. Tennessee is still considered safely Republican by political scientist Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball and by Inside Elections, and Likely Republican by the Cook Political Report. But Politico says it obtained an internal poll conducted by Glen Bolger of Public Opinion Strategies showing Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen with a slight edge over Blackburn, 57 to 45.
It’s unclear what might happen if Corker decides to run for his job again. The filing deadline for candidates is April 5, less than two months away. The primary will take place Aug. 2.
After the Politico story published, the influential network of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch issued a statement Tuesday reasserting their support for Blackburn, saying she has their “full support.”