NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Senator Bob Corker’s retirement announcement has lit a frenzy of speculation about who will succeed him that has ranged from UT football icon Peyton Manning to Tennessee governors past and present, but one of them said “no” late Wednesday.
Manning, in an appearance on Nashville radio station 104.5 The Zone’s 3HL program, said there was no consideration when asked if he would run.Related story:Peyton Manning to Nashville radio station: ‘Zero interest’ in running for Senate
Manning was with another person Tuesday whose name has surfaced as a possible successor to Corker. He joined Governor Bill Haslam for the Pat Summitt Foundation fundraiser at the Tennessee Executive Residence, but nothing was said publicly about potential Senate bids by either one of them.
Most observers think the favorite to succeed Senator Corker is Middle Tennessee area congressional member Marsha Blackburn, if Governor Haslam doesn’t enter the race.
“Other candidates particularly on the conservative side have to decide whether they can beat Marsha statewide,” says longtime conservative political analyst Steve Gill. “And I think that would be difficult… on the conservative side. ”
A statement from Blackburn’s spokesperson said, “Rep. Blackburn appreciates the outpouring of encouragement and support she has received about a possible Senate run. She ran for Congress to advance conservative values and fight for the people of Tennessee. Over the next week she will take a look at the Senate race and decide how, and where, she believes she can best serve her state and her nation.”Related:Sen. Bob Corker will not seek reelection
State Senator Mark Green is expected to run for Senator Corker’s seat if Blackburn doesn’t and would seek her congressional seat if she does.
The governor has a public appearance Thursday where he will be asked about considering the Senate.
Former congressional member Stephen Fincher is among the others considering a run for Corker’s seat, as is former state representative Joe Carr, who got 41-percent of a Republican Primary vote against Lamar Alexander in 2014.
Former conservative activist Andy Ogles is already in the race on the Republican side.
Nashville lawyer James Mackler is running on the democratic side, but Chattanooga mayor and former state senator Andy Berke is considering.
Former Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen’s name has often come up with these kind of vacancies, but while he has indicated “not interested in that” according to one report, its no secret that many within the party hope he reconsiders.