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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 CorkerCongress punts fight over Dreamers to March Drama surrounding Shulkin — what is the future of VA health care? Blackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' MORE (R-Tenn.) won’t seek reelection, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnBlackburn pushes back on potential Corker bid: 'I'm going to win' Nervous GOP seeks new 2018 Senate candidates in three states Corker 'listening closely' to calls to reconsider retirement 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 BlackWomack wins initial support to become Budget chairman House Foreign Affairs chairman to retire This week: Clock ticks toward shutdown deadline MORE (R-Tenn.), has already announced she's running for governor next year.

In 2015, then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerRestoring fiscal sanity requires bipartisan courage GOP congressman slams primary rival for Ryan donations Speculation swirls about Kevin McCarthy’s future 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.