Gov. Haslam ‘considering’ run for Sen. Corker’s seat

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Haslam has reportedly confirmed he is considering running for the Senate, filling the seat which will soon be vacated upon Bob Corker’s retirement.

“It merits spending some time thinking about it and praying about it, which I’ll do over the next several days,” Haslam said when asked about his political future now that’s he’s reached his term limit.

“Quite frankly I was hoping and expecting Bob to run,” he added. “So I have not spent a whole lot of time thinking about it and being in the United States Senate is not something that I’ve long dreamed about or thought about.”

He told reporters he will be seriously thinking about his next move and what’s best for him. However, he won’t draw out his decision either, saying he will have an answer within a month, WSMV reported.

Both Senator Lamar Alexander and Corker have encouraged Haslam to throw his name in the ring.

So far, the only Republican who has declared for the Senate race is Andy Agles, the former state director of Americans for Prosperity, the political arm of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch’s network.

Representative Marsha Blackburn, who has often toyed with running for statewide office, is expected to announce her decision about a Senate bid in the coming days. A regular fixture of television news shows, Blackburn has more than $3.1 million in her campaign account.

Former Rep. Stephen Fincher, who retired from Congress last year, told The Tennessean he will decide by the end of the week whether he will run. He has $2.4 million remaining in his federal campaign account. Freshman Rep. David Kustoff, a former U.S. attorney in Memphis, may also be interested.

State Sen. Mark Green, who dropped out of the gubernatorial race after he withdrew from his nomination as Army secretary, is expected to announce his intentions in the next few days. Before Corker dropped out, former state Rep. Joe Carr said he was considering a bid.

Republican consultant Josh Thomas said a spirited primary — like the one Corker faced before his 2006 election — could help shape a stronger candidate.

“Energetic free-for-all primaries are good for the party and will produce a nominee who is ready to take on the Democrats in November,” he said.

Nashville attorney James Mackler is the only Democrat in the race so far.