On Thursday Gov. Bill Haslam said he is considering a run for the U.S. Senate.
Earlier in the week, Haslam’s good friend and his brother’s college roommate, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), shocked the political world when he said he would not be running for a third term in 2018.
The ever cautious Haslam couched his comments about a potential run in his comments to the local Tennessee press, as WBIR reported:
“It merits spending some time thinking about it and praying about it,” Haslam told reporters.
The governor said he’s talked to Corker about the idea in recent days, adding that he had fully expected the U.S. senator to run for a third term.
“I’ve heard from a lot of folks on the national political scene and a lot of people around Tennessee,” Haslam said. “But at the end of the day it’s more of a personal decision about what you want to do with your life. And it’s a question about can I be helpful in this role?”
Haslam did not give a timetable as to when he will reach a decision, noting he won’t draw the process out for a month.
Haslam added that Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has encouraged him to consider jumping into the Senate race.
Though the two-term governor would be a contender, should he decide to enter the race, he will likely have to contend with Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), who has also said she is considering entering the race.
Blackburn would be a formidable opponent for the wealthy Haslam.
A Tennessee Star Poll conducted in June showed that, in a head-to-head matchup, Blackburn was in a virtual tie with Corker.
While Haslam may not start the race with quite as many negatives as Corker, they share at least one thing in common: a persistent pattern of opposing President Trump.
Haslam, in addition, is saddled with the unpopular legacy of his gas tax increased, signed into law this spring. Haslam used all his powers as governor to force through the state legislature.