Haslam balks at U.S. Senate run

Xavier Smith • Oct 5, 2017 at 5:09 PM

Gov. Bill Haslam announced Thursday he would not run for U.S. Senate in 2018 after Sen. Bob Corker announced last month he would not seek re-election next year.

“While Crissy and I will always be grateful for all of the encouragement and support to run for the United States Senate, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate for Senate in 2018. The primary reason is that I want to remain completely focused on my job as governor,” Haslam said in a statement. “I know that being a candidate for the Senate during my last 15 months as governor would be a distraction from the task at hand. And, while I have loved being a mayor and governor, I don’t feel the same call to run for Senate at this point. At the end of my term, I will have been in public office for 15 years. I feel like I can be most helpful in my next service as a private citizen.”

Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, R-Brentwood, pointed to her conservative beliefs in her announcement to run for Corker’s U.S. Senate seat, which came shortly after Haslam’s announcement.

“I’m a hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative. I’m politically incorrect and proud of it,” Blackburn said in her three-minute announcement video.

Blackburn, 65, took aim at her fellow Republican legislators in the video and touted her political background. She called the party’s numerous failed attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act a “disgrace.”

“Too many Senate Republicans act like Democrats or worse,” Blackburn said.

Blackburn highlighted her conservative political stances, which included pro-life, immigration ban, conservative government spending and gun control comments.

 “America needs a conservative revolution and leaders who are willing to fight in it,” Blackburn said.

Corker, R-Tenn., said he enjoyed his time as senator, but believed it was time to step away.

“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. But 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,” Corker said.


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