Former Congressman Stephen Fincher (R-TN-8) told the Johnson City Press this week that he is seriously thinking about running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by the retiring Bob Corker.
Johnson City was one of the first stops in what Fincher says is a listening tour of the state designed to help him decide whether to run. The tour is expected to last several weeks.
The West Tennessee farmer would be vying for the Republican nomination against the formidable U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) and conservative activist Andy Ogles.
Fincher, who lives in Frog Jump, said in an interview with the Johnson City Press that he is being encouraged by supporters to run and has been praying about it and discussing it with his family. He is currently traveling the state to get input from voters.
Fincher was first elected to Congress in 2010 and was re-elected twice to consecutive terms. In 2016, he decided not to run again because of the illness of a family member. He has more than $2 million remaining in his congressional election account.
In August, he became a campaign co-chairman for U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-6) in her run for Tennessee governor.
Fincher told the Johnson City Press that he supports President Trump and voted for him in the primary.
“I think (Trump’s) policies are spot-on for what we need as a country, lower taxes (and) immigration reform are critical. You’ve got to secure the border before you can start,” Fincher said.
“Republicans need to stand up. They need to quit playing games. They need to quit fighting amongst themselves. We’re blowing some real, real good opportunities here to get some things accomplished,” he said, especially faulting Congress for failing to repeal Obamacare.
Fincher did not weigh in on the feuding between Trump and Corker.
While the Johnson City Press described Fincher as a “hardline Christian conservative,” he would be cast as an establishment figure in contrast to Blackburn, who has taken some hits among grassroots conservatives but is considered to be more solidly in their corner.
When he first ran for Congress, Fincher was criticized by Tea Party conservatives for accepting farm subsidies. He later was viewed as someone who became beholden to corporate interests once in Washington, D.C. He voted to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank, which offers loans and insurance to foreign companies that want to buy U.S. goods.