U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) released the following statement Tuesday on his decision not to run for re-election.
The two-term senator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman. In those years he had become an influential moderate voice in the Republican party.
President Trump considered him as both a potential Vice Presidential candidate and Secretary of State.
However, Corker became a recent voice of opposition.
“After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018.
“When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms. Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult. But I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me.
“I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months, and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career.
“Serving the people of Tennessee in this capacity has been the greatest privilege of my life. And as I spent the month of August traveling across our great state, I was reminded that we live in a unique place full of people who care deeply about the direction of our country.
“I am grateful to the people of Tennessee for the opportunity to serve my state and country. I have been fortunate to do so with an extraordinary staff, and I want to thank them for their incredible dedication. I know that we will continue to have an impact for the remainder of our term, and I look forward to finding other ways to make a difference in the future.
“Finally, I want to thank my wife, Elizabeth, and our family, who have made many sacrifices in allowing me to serve. Nothing I have done would have been possible without their love and support.”
Republicans hold a 52-48 edge in the Senate. Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden released the following statement regarding Senator Corker's announcement:
“Senator Corker has served with distinction and fortitude since he was first elected in 2006. He has exemplified the leadership of past Tennessee Senators such as Bill Frist, Fred Thompson, and Howard Baker. The Tennessee Republican Party is grateful for his service to our state and all he has done for our party.
“Tennessee has been blessed with great leaders, and that has held true in recent years. As such, I am confident that whoever our party’s voters nominate next year will win in November and continue the legacy of strong, principled, Republican leadership that the United States Senate has seen from Tennessee."
Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini also released a statement:
“It’s clear that Senator Corker didn’t have the courage to go through an election cycle defending his support for the disastrous Republican healthcare plans that would have raised premiums, instituted an age tax, and thrown hundreds of thousands of Tennesseans off of their insurance. Tennesseans deserve voices that fight for them, not billionaires or political parties.”
Multiple other lawmakers reacted to Corker's announcement:
Congressman Diane Black:
"Senator Corker has been an effective voice for Tennesseans in the Senate. He is a devoted public servant and I wish he and his wife, Elizabeth, well in the future."
Congressman Steve Cohen:
“I was disappointed to learn that Senator Bob Corker will not be seeking re-election in 2018. Senator Corker has been easy to work with, and we have developed an excellent relationship since beginning our careers in Congress in 2006. Bob is highly respected for his knowledge of the issues, especially foreign policy. He has exhibited moments of independence reminiscent of past great Tennessee Senators. I have enjoyed his friendship and collegiality since serving together in Tennessee State government, and I will miss serving with him in Congress.”
Congressman Jim Cooper:
“I congratulate Sen. Corker for two terms in the Senate. Despite our differences, we have a solid working relationship and I admire his expertise on foreign affairs,” Rep. Cooper said. “I wish him the best in his future endeavors, and I thank him for his service to Tennessee.”
Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee:
“Vulnerable Republican incumbents see the writing on the wall – they don’t want to defend their disastrous health care agenda, which is toxic with voters of every political persuasion, and are terrified to engage in divisive and expensive primaries. Senator Corker’s decision is the latest example of a key theme driving GOP Senate primaries across the country: divided and leaderless, Republican Senate campaigns have nothing to run on but a string of broken promises, and this dynamic will continue to define Republican Senate primaries across the map.”
Lt. Governor Randy McNally
"Bob Corker has provided sterling service to our state. You always know where he stands and you always know he is doing the best for Tennessee. I enjoyed working with him during his tenure as Commissioner of Finance and Administration. His service as a United States Senator and as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee has been exemplary. I congratulate him on an excellent Senate career and I look forward to his future endeavors."