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Corker-Trump Feud Creates Interesting TN Playing Field

In his position on the Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., held a key spot in international policy. (U.S. Embassy Moldova/flickr)
In his position on the Committee on Foreign Relations, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., held a key spot in international policy. (U.S. Embassy Moldova/flickr)
October 26, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The dust-up between Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker and President Trump continues, but after the dust settles, the Volunteer State will be in need of someone to fill the vacant seat.

In office since 2007, Corker serves on several key Senate committees including Foreign Relations and Banking. According to Richard Pacelle, head of the Political Science department at the University of Tennessee, it will take some time before his replacement has the seniority to earn key committee seats back.

"In the Senate, just about everybody has some basis of power, and so it would take a little while, and certainly I think, particularly with Sen. Corker, it would take awhile to replace that,” Pacelle said. "But it wouldn't be like you'd find in the House where you'd just go from 100 to zero."

Trump administration has said Corker is retaliating against the president and wouldn't win re-election in 2018 anyway. But Pacelle said he disagrees, and that Corker actually could be preparing for a larger political endeavor, such as challenging the president in the next election.

Pacelle said Corker's decision to leave the Senate at the end of next year also creates an interesting challenge for the Republican Party, which has has held both of the state's seats since 1995.

"So you'll have a battle between the more Tea Party conservatives trying to get that nomination, as well as the main establishment,” he said. “And so this is going to become a place now where Democrats might decide they might put their toe in the water and see if they have an opportunity to challenge for this seat."

Tennessee's other senator, Lamar Alexander, said he hasn't decided if he'll run again when his term is up in 2020, but there are rumors he's considering retirement as well. Prior to his conflict with Trump, Corker had been considered as a potential vice presidential candidate, and also as a potential nominee for Secretary of State,

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN