(WJHL) – Senator Bob Corker announces plans to leave the United States Senate. He said on Tuesday that he will not run for re-election next year.
“I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018,” said Sen. Corker in a statement.
For the past few months, his future in the Senate has been the source of speculation.
Many thought of his retirement as unlikely because of his powerful position in the federal government. He will leave as one of the highest ranking members of the Senate — where he serves as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee.
Corker has even tangled with President Donald Trump, both publicly and via Twitter. But Trump recently encouraged the senator to seek another term.
Corker was first elected to the Senate in 2006 and was re-elected to the second term in 2012.
The following is a statement from Sen. Corker:
“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.”
Many in the political realm are showing their support for Sen. Corker and are thanking him for his years of service.
Former Tennessee Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey told News Channel 11 on Tuesday that he was surprised to hear of his plans, but he said, “I completely understand his decision.” He added, “I have known Bob since 1994 He has served our state well, first as Commissioner of Finance and Administration and 12 years as US Senator. I wish Senator Corker well in his life after politics.”
Tennessee Governor Bob Haslam said on Tuesday afternoon, “Bob has been a close friend for over 40 years. His leadership and wisdom in the Senate will be missed.” He went on to say, “I look forward to seeing what he does next.”
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said Corker’s absence will leave a big hole in the Senate:
“I have known Bob since 1994 He has served our state well, first as Commissioner of Finance and Administration and 12 years as US Senator. I wish Senator Corker well in his life after politics.”
Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Corker have worked across the aisle on a number of bi-partisan reforms. Warner released the following statement on Tuesday:
“When I joined the Senate in 2009, Bob Corker was one of the first people I sought out because of his experience in business and local government. Since then, he has become a dear friend, and we have worked closely together on a number of budget and banking-related issues, particularly housing finance reform. No matter the challenge, you can always count on Senator Corker to bring a reasoned, thoughtful approach, and to make decisions based not on partisanship but on what he believes is in the best interests of the American people. I am sorry to hear of his decision not to run for another term in the Senate, but I appreciate his many contributions to the people of Chattanooga, where he served as mayor; to the State of Tennessee, where he served as Commissioner of Finance and Administration; and to our country. I salute his service, value his friendship, and wish him nothing but the best in the future. “I also hope this is a wake-up call to all of us in the Senate that we need to recommit ourselves to creating an environment where reasonable, thoughtful people of both parties can come together to solve problems.
The Tennessee Republican Party compared Corker to previous distinctive servants in the Senate such as Senators Bill Frist, Fred Thompson and Howard Baker:
“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.”
Corker’s decision is likely welcomed news for conservated activist Andy Ogle. Earlier this month, he announced that he would challenge Corker if he decided to run for re-election. He said he was running because too many politicians are failing to keep their election promises.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.