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 CorkerHistory argues for Democratic Senate gains GOP to White House: End summit mystery The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia MORE (R-Tenn.) won’t seek reelection, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnElection Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas Senate Dems build huge cash edge in battlegrounds Lawmakers split over how to expand rural broadband 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 BlackBrady at White House meeting: House to vote on more tax cuts in September GOP lawmaker introduces legislation labelling first-time illegal border crossing as a felony Scalise throws support behind Black, Blackburn ahead of Tennessee primary MORE (R-Tenn.), has already announced she's running for governor next year.

In 2015, then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerFreedom Caucus members see openings in leadership Five GOP lawmakers mulling bid to lead conservative caucus Ex-lawmakers see tough job market with trade groups 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.