Sen. Corker announces he won’t seek re-election in 2018 - WSMV News 4

Sen. Corker announces he won’t seek re-election in 2018

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U.S. Senator Bob Corker (WSMV file) U.S. Senator Bob Corker (WSMV file)

U.S. Senator Bob Corker announced on Tuesday that he would not seek re-election next year.

“After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018,” Corker said in a news release.

Corker was first elected to the Senate in 2006 when he won a Republican primary against former Congressmen Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary. He defeated Memphis Congressman Harold Ford Jr. in November to win the seat formerly held by Dr. Bill Frist. He easily won re-election in 2012. He has served as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since January 2015.

“When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms. Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult,” Corker said in a news release. “I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me.

“I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months, and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, Tennessee's senior senator, said Corker has always done what was right for Tennesseans.

"Even when he's been investigating smugglers' tunnels near the Gaza strip, talking to foreign leaders, or giving advice to President Trump, Bob has never let his feet leave the ground in Tennessee," Alexander said in a statement posted on his Senate website. "He says what he thinks, does what he believes is best for Tennesseans, and has helped lead his colleagues on complicated issues involving the federal debt and national security. His absence will leave a big hole in the United States Senate, but I know he's weighed his decision, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he tackles next."

Scott Golden, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, said Corker has "exemplified the leadership of past Tennessee Senators."

"Senator Corker has served with distinction and fortitude since he was first elected in 2006," Golden said in a news release. "He has exemplified the leadership of past Tennessee Senators such as Bill Frist, Fred Thompson and Howard Baker. The Tennessee Republican Party is grateful for his service to our state and all he has done for our party."

Across the aisle, Congressman Jim Cooper, D-TN, said he and Corker had a good working relationship.

"I congratulate Sen. Corker for two terms in the Senate," Cooper said in a statement. "Despite our differences, we have a solid working relationship and I admire his expertise on foreign affairs. I wish him the best in his future endeavors, and I think him for his service to Tennessee."

Congressman Steve Cohen, D-TN, said he was disappointed to learn Corker would not seek re-election.

"I was disappointed to learn that Senator Bob Corker will not be seeking re-election in 2018," Cohen said in a statement. "Senator Corker has been easy to work with, and we have developed an excellent relationship since beginning our careers in Congress in 2006."

Corker first ran for U.S. Senate in 1994, losing to Frist, after establishing a successful construction company in Chattanooga.

After serving as Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee in 1995 and 1996 for Gov. Don Sundquist, he served as mayor of Chattanooga from 2001-05.

“Serving the people of Tennessee in this capacity has been the greatest privilege of my life,” Corker said. “And as I spent the month of August traveling across our great state, I was reminded that we live in a unique place full of people who care deeply about the direction of our country.

“I am grateful to the people of Tennessee for the opportunity to serve my state and country. I have been fortunate to do so with an extraordinary staff, and I want to thank them for their incredible dedication. I know that we will continue to have an impact for the remainder of our term, and I look forward to finding other ways to make a difference in the future.”

Prior to the 2016 Republican Convention, Corker was one of the several people vetted to be a possible vice presidential candidate for Donald J. Trump. Trump eventually selected Mike Pence to be his running-mate.

Corker was also reported in consideration to be Secretary of State for Trump.

“Finally, I want to thank my wife, Elizabeth, and our family, who have made many sacrifices in allowing me to serve. Nothing I have done would have been possible without their love and support.”

Corker has been married to his wife Elizabeth for 30 years. They have two daughters and one grandchild.

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