Blackburn says she's interested in Corker's seat

Blackburn says she's interested in Corker's seat
© Greg Nash

Minutes after learning that Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerBannon: McConnell 'picking up his game' because of our 'insurgent movement' State Dept. spokeswoman acknowledges 'morale issue' The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Tenn.) won’t seek reelection, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump's Twitter lockout raises safeguard concerns Anti-pyramid scheme legislation is necessary to protect consumers from fraud Former Tennessee rep enters race for Corker's Senate seat MORE (R-Tenn.) told The Hill on Tuesday she’s considering running for his Senate seat in 2018.

“Yes,” Blackburn said when asked if she's taking a look at the Senate race.

Blackburn said colleagues told her about Corker's retirement during votes on the House floor. The Senate Foreign Relations chairman did not give his delegation any advance notice of his decision, lawmakers said.

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“I know he's going to be missed,” Blackburn said of Corker, noting that the senator and former Chattanooga mayor has dedicated his life to public service.

Tennessee Republicans said Blackburn would be the favorite to replace Corker, especially since another veteran House lawmaker, Budget Committee Chairwoman Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackGOP nears initial victory on tax reform Mounting GOP retirements threaten House majority The Hill's Whip List: Where Republicans stand on tax-reform bill MORE (R-Tenn.), has already announced she's running for governor next year.

In 2015, then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerTrump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery One year later, neither party can get past last year's election MORE (R-Ohio) named Blackburn chairwoman of the special committee investigating whether Planned Parenthood was selling tissue from aborted fetuses.

Blackburn “is well known in Tennessee. She's been a strong conservative voice. And she's a thoughtful person who's always been supportive of the president,” said Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.). “I think she would be formidable.”

Blackburn also has $3 million in her campaign coffers.

Corker’s announcement came weeks after a public quarrel with President Trump. The senator openly criticized the president for his response to a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that turned violent. That prompted a backlash from Trump allies who began talking about recruiting a GOP primary challenger against the senator. 

Blackburn's name was floated but she said publicly that she wasn't interested and would run for reelection in the House instead.