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 CorkerSasse’s jabs at Trump spark talk of primary challenger RNC votes to give Trump 'undivided support' ahead of 2020 Sen. Risch has unique chance to guide Trump on foreign policy MORE (R-Tenn.) won’t seek reelection, Rep. Marsha BlackburnMarsha BlackburnTrump’s new Syria timetable raises concern among key anti-ISIS allies Dem lawmaker invites Parkland survivor to attend State of the Union Bipartisan senators press Trump for strategy to protect Syrian Kurds 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 BlackLamar Alexander's exit marks end of an era in evolving Tennessee Juan Williams: The GOP's worsening problem with women How to reform the federal electric vehicle tax credit MORE (R-Tenn.), has already announced she's running for governor next year.

In 2015, then-Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerOn unilateral executive action, Mitch McConnell was right — in 2014 Bill Clinton jokes no one would skip Dingell's funeral: 'Only time' we could get the last word Left flexes muscle in immigration talks 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.