Bredesen Says He and Corker Discussed Senate Race

Corker’s retirement led to former Democratic governor’s candidacy

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., briefly reconsidered his decision not to seek re-election before announcing he would not run. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democratic Senate candidate and former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen said he and outgoing Republican Sen. Bob Corkerhad “numerous” conversations about the race.

Bredesen’s candidacy has cleared the Democratic field after Corker announced in September he would not seek re-election after two terms.

“Yes, he and I had numerous conversations from the time that he said he was not going to run (in September) up until the present,” Bredesen told reporters, the Tennessean reported. “I really was pretty confident all the time that in the end he would stick with what he originally decided to do, and I respect him.”

Corker announced last week that he had not changed his mind about retiring despite encouragement from some of his colleagues to reconsider.

The calls came after some expressed concern that Rep. Marsha Blackburn, the current frontrunner in the Republican primary, could face a tough race against the former governor.

Bredesen told reporters he would not have run had Corker decided to seek re-election.

“I did not look forward to the prospects of there being a race between the two of us. I still think there was a path to victory, but that would not be pleasant experience for me,” he said.

The former governor, who served from 2003 to 2011, said Corker was “very helpful” to him, but did not encourage him to run.

“No, I think both of us are sensitive to the fact that we’re from different parties, and we’ve got different constituencies and so on,” he said.

Inside Elections With Nathan L. Gonzales rates the Tennessee Senate race Likely Republican.

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