Morning Digest: Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker’s retirement leaves a wide open GOP field to succeed him

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, and Carolyn Fiddler, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

TN-Sen: Sen. Bob Corker’s decision to retire on Tuesday caught his fellow Tennessee Republicans by surprise, but one politician may already be prepared to run. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who has represented a safely red Middle Tennessee seat since 2003, said through a spokesperson that she would decide “[o]ver the next week.” However, U.S. News & World Report’s David Catanese reports that Blackburn will announce she’s in very soon. Blackburn tweeted a new campaign logo on Tuesday that featured an outline of the state, so there’s not much doubt which way she’s leaning. Blackburn had $3.1 million in her House account at the end of June, money she could immediately transfer to a Senate campaign.

At least one potential Senate candidate seems ready to run for Blackburn’s House seat rather than for the Senate. State Sen. Mark Green, whose nomination to lead the Department of the Army failed due to his long history of disparaging remarks about Muslims and LGBT people, was talking about challenging Corker, but Catanese reports he’ll run in the 7th Congressional District instead if she leaves the House.

But if Blackburn runs, she won’t have the GOP primary to herself no matter what Green does. Andy Ogles, the former head of the state chapter of the Koch Brothers-affiliated group Americans for Prosperity, was already running even before Corker announced his departure. Ex-Rep. Joe Carr had also been considering running against Corker, and he says he’ll be “making an announcement shortly.” Carr challenged Sen. Lamar Alexander in the 2014 GOP primary and held him to a 50-41 win, but he got crushed 64-32 when he tried to beat GOP Rep. Diane Black two years later.