Nineteen of the 27 Republicans in the Tennessee State Senate endorsed Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) on Wednesday for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate over a potential candidacy of Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), who said in September he would not seek a third term but has indicated over the past week he is having “second thoughts.”
The Tennesseean identified the 19 state senators who endorsed Blackburn:
Sen. Paul Bailey, Sparta
Sen. Mike Bell, Riceville
Sen. Janice Bowling, Tullahoma
Sen. Rusty Crowe Johnson City
Sen. Mark Green, Clarksville
Sen. Dolores Gresham, Somerville
Sen. Ferrell Haile, Gallatin
Sen. Joey Hensley, Hohenwald
Sen. Jack Johnson, Franklin
Sen. Brian Kelsey, Germantown
Sen. Bill Ketron, Murfreesboro
Sen. Jon Lundberg, Bristol
Sen. Becky Duncan Massey, Knoxville
Sen. Frank Niceley, Strawberry Plains
Sen. Mark Pody, Lebanon
Sen. Kerry Roberts, Springfield
Sen. John Stevens, Huntingdon
Sen. Ken Yager, Kingston
“Among the initial group of Senate Republicans to not endorse Blackburn on Wednesday were Lt. Gov. Randy McNally of Oak Ridge and Majority Leader Mark Norris of Collierville,” The Tennessean noted, adding:
Later in the morning, McNally posted his endorsement of Blackburn on Facebook, saying, “Marsha Blackburn proved her leadership ability in the House. It’s time to put that leadership to work in the United States Senate.”
One of the eight Republican state senators who have not yet endorsed Blackburn is State Sen. Mark Norris (R-Collierville), who has been nominated for a federal judgeship, and needs Corker’s support in the Senate to help push through his nomination.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted to forward Norris’ nomination for consideration on the floor of the Senate in December, but Congress adjourned for the year before that vote took place.
President Trump resubmitted Norris’ nomination in January, but, to date, the Senate Judiciary Committee has not yet acted upon it.
The seven other Republican members of the Tennessee State Senate who have not endorsed Blackburn are:
Sen. Richard Briggs, Knoxville
Sen. Steve Dickerson, Nashville
Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Chattanooga
Sen. Ed Jackson, Jackson
Sen. Steve Southerland, Morristown
Sen. Art Swann, Alcoa
Sen. Bo Watson, Hixson
“These leaders are dedicated public servants, and I am grateful for their advice, friendship, and continued support. I look forward to working with them to serve Tennesseans in the U.S. Senate,” Blackburn said in a statement.
Currently there are 27 Republican members and 5 Democratic members of the Tennessee State Senate with one vacancy. The occupant of the vacant seat in the 14th State Senate District will be determined in a special election on March 13 between Republican nominee Shane Reeves and Democrat nominee Gayle Jordan.