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 Kerry (D-Mass.) that Lugar did over three decades, however, possibly auguring an era of decreased bipartisanship on the panel.

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“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. 


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