On Tuesday, Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) publicly confirmed that he will not be seeking re-election to a third term in the U.S. Senate.
Corker announced back on September 26 that he would not seek a third term, but earlier this month stated that he was reconsidering that decision.
Corker’s chief of staff broke the news early Tuesday morning in Politico, then issued a written statement picked up by other media outlets.
The icy reception Corker received when he spoke at the Shelby County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday night may have played a role in his decision to bow out without risking a humiliating defeat against front runner Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) in the August Republican primary.
The Tennessee Star reported on Saturday’s event in Memphis:
Corker and his consultants have been trying to generate the perception of momentum for him to get in the race by “encouraging” speculative stories in national publications over the past several days, including in USA Today and ABC News.
Those efforts, however, have fallen flat.
Sources in the Corker camp had previously indicated to the press that he was going to make and announce a decision on the Senate race one or the other by this past Friday, so speculation was ripe that he would address the issue either at a Republican gathering in Williamson County on Friday or at the Shelby County event on Saturday.
Corker failed to show up in Williamson County on Friday.
Corker’s team had apparently encouraged an ABC News team to follow him down to the Shelby County event Saturday night, but when he spoke, he delivered nothing.
“Corker did not get a good reception tonight at all,” one source who was in the audience tells The Tennessee Star.
Blackburn now appears to have a clear path to the Republican nomination. Former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN-08) withdrew from the race earlier this month. Dr. Rolando Toyos remains in the race, but he has yet to poll above low single digits, and is at a significant financial disadvantage compared to Blackburn.
On the Democratic side, former Gov. Phil Bredesen faces no opposition and will be on the ballot in the general election against Blackburn.