VOL. 133 | NO. 41 | Monday, February 26, 2018
Corker Mum On Possible Senate Return Run
By Bill Dries
When Shelby County Republican party leaders gathered Saturday, Feb. 26, for their annual Lincoln Day Gala, the local party’s largest fundraiser, much of the attention was on the elected official who delivered the shortest speech of the night.
U.S. Senator Bob Corker’s formal role at the gathering of nearly 1,000 at the Holiday Inn University of Memphis was to welcome fellow U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina.
But most in the audience were listening for any indication that Corker may be about to get back into the race for his Senate seat five months after he announced he would not seek re-election.
Those in the audience included U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is the only major contender in the August statewide Republican primary for the Senate.
Shelby County Republican Party chairman Lee Mills, in introducing Blackburn along with Republican contenders in other local and state primary races, said the list included “the ones we know about now.”
Corker said nothing about the move by some Republicans in Washington including some Senate leaders to get him back in the race. That follows the release this month of an internal poll weighted toward Republican voters that showed a slight lead for Democratic Senate contender and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen in a Bredesen-Blackburn general election match-up.
When questioned by reporters after the dinner, Corker didn’t say much more than he said in his remarks from the podium.
“Nothing has changed whatsoever. I really at this point have nothing to say. I haven’t spoken publicly about this ever,” Corker said.
Asked about Blackburn specifically, Corker said, “I have actually tremendous respect for her and the Democratic candidate. And both of them would not have chosen to run if I had run. I’ve never made any comments contrary to that.”
Trump and calls for allegiance to Trump were a part of the speeches at the gala that featured four of the five Republican contenders for Tennessee Governor.
U.S. Rep. David Kustoff of Germantown touted the federal tax reform bill and the resulting bonuses and pay raises corporations are giving as they repatriate overseas revenue as the reform’s lower corporate tax rate.
“We could not have done it without the support and leadership of President Donald Trump,” Kustoff said.
U.S. Rep. Diane Black, who is among the contenders for Governor, also touted the Trump tax reform plan with other speakers mentioning Black’s role in its passage as chairwoman of the House Budget Committee at the time.
Scott said tax reform’s impact on the economy is part of a larger shift.
“The spark is clear,” he said. “It is our responsibility to continue to design policies in Washington that shift the responsibilities and the control of all of the resources back to the states where they belong.”