House

Blackburn says she's interested in Corker's seat

Minutes after learning that Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) won't seek reelection, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (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.

"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 Black (R-Tenn.), has already announced she's running for governor next year.

In 2015, then-Speaker John Boehner (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.

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