Top Republican on Foreign Affairs panel projected to win reelection

With 16 percent of polls reporting, Corker was ahead of Mark Clayton 64 percent to 31 percent. Clayton, a part-time floor installer, has been nationally lampooned as 2012's “worst candidate” because he lacked a campaign headquarters and had raised just $278 by the end of last month.

Corker is seen as a moderate on foreign policy issues who has raised concerns about U.S. intervention in Syria championed by Republican hawks while refusing to endorse a number of international treaties the Obama administration has been pushing for. He hasn't built the same rapport with committee chairman John KerryJohn KerryFormer Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP How dealmaker Trump can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict John Kerry to teach at Yale on global issues MORE (D-Mass.) that Lugar did over three decades, however, possibly auguring an era of decreased bipartisanship on the panel.

“Determining the proper role for further U.S. involvement without committing ourselves to another long-term entanglement or fueling a greater conflict that destabilizes the region must be our goal,” he said in September after meeting with Syrian refugees and opposition groups.