Republican leaders in Congress, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) have “moved on” from Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who recently indicated he is having “second thoughts” about not running for re-election, and are now all-in behind Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07), who is the presumptive Republican nominee, The Washington Examiner reported on Wednesday:
Top Republican leaders, including McConnell and Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, as well as senior Blackburn advisors, some of whom were working for Corker’s re-election campaign before he pulled the plug, are baffled by suggestions that the congresswoman is putting this race in jeopardy.
She has hit all of the metrics set for her campaign, launched only after Corker bowed out last fall. Her fundraising is strong, she is organizing on the ground, and she has the consensus support of the Republican establishment in Washington and the conservative grassroots in Tennessee long unhappy with Corker.
Blackburn also happens to be a woman. That matters because the Republican Party is lacking female candidates — capable or otherwise — in an election cycle in which the GOP’s biggest vulnerability is a weakness among educated, suburban white women — just like Blackburn.
“We simply haven’t been involved there; we haven’t been involved,” Gardner said Wednesday when asked if he had concerns about Blackburn or was involved in coaxing Corker out of retirement.
The Tennessee Star recently published poll results that found Blackburn well ahead Bredesen in a head-to-head contest:
A new Tennessee Star Poll released on Monday shows that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) leads former Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat, in a head-to-head general election matchup for the Tennessee U.S. Senate seat currently held by Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) by 11 points, 50 percent to 39 percent.
The same poll shows that Bredesen leads former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN-08) by 3 points, 41 percent to 38 percent in a head-to-head matchup, within the poll’s margin of error.
The automated (IVR) telephone survey of 1,003 likely Tennessee voters in the November 2018 general election was conducted for The Tennessee Star by Triton Research between January 21 and January 24 and has a 3.1 percent margin of error.
Forty-six percent of poll respondents were Republicans, 25 percent were Democrats, and 27 percent were Independents.
And a poll conducted earlier this week by the Senate Conservatives Fund indicates that Blackburn will clobber Corker in the Tennessee GOP primary in August if he gets in the race:
“A new poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary voters from the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) shows that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) clobbers Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) by 23 points, 49 percent to 26 percent, in a three person GOP matchup in which former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN-08) garners only nine percent of the vote,” Breitbart News reported late Wednesday:
The poll of 600 respondents was conducted between February 12 and 13 and has a margin of error of 4.0 percent, a spokesperson for SCF confirmed to Breitbart News on Wednesday.
The results were even worse for Corker when likely Republican primary voters were asked if they wanted him to retire.
“According to our survey, likely Republican primary voters want him to retire by an overwhelming margin,” the SCF said in an email sent out on Wednesday.
A resounding 64 percent said they wanted Corker to retire, while only 24 percent said he should seek re-election. Only 12 percent were unsure.
Some Washington, D. C. insiders, however, continue their whisper campaign to convince Corker to “un-retire,” citing an outlier survey by veteran Glen Bolger that found Republican front runner Marsha Blackburn losing to former Tennessee governor Phil Bredesen, a Democrat.
Politico, who obtained a copy of the findings, wrote that “the poll showed Blackburn losing to Bredesen 47 percent to 45 percent” – a margin almost certainly within the margin of error.
However, analysis of the demographics of the survey caused alarm due to a supposed oversampling of Republicans. Bolger was quick to defend his survey, tweeting. “My poll in Tennessee did not have ‘a sample that was over-weighted with Republicans.’ It had a GOP oversample for primary questions, which doesn’t impact the general election.”
When the Washington Examiner reached out to Bolger with more questions, he declined to answer, telling them that his client “barred him from discussing the survey.”
As the April filing deadline fast approaches, reports are that Corker and his people are ‘mum’ on the prospect of jumping back into the race, and the Blackburn campaign has stated unequivocally they will not drop out before the August 2 primary.