- Thomson Reuters
Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, a top Republican senator, will not seek reelection in 2018, he announced on Tuesday.
“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,” Corker said.
He continued: “I am grateful to the people of Tennessee for the opportunity to serve my state and my country.”
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has for months been weighing his decision, with Republican leaders like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urging him to seek reelection, despite some earlier polls indicating he may be vulnerable to a Republican primary challenger.
Some on the right have amped up their search for a candidate to run to Corker’s right, particularly following the Tennessee senator’s criticism of President Donald Trump’s comments about white-nationalist protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month.
Steven Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, has reportedly sought a primary challenger for Corker.
Though Tennessee is considered a Republican stronghold, the open seat could also present an opportunity for a Democratic upset in a wave election year.