Congressman: Manning Looking Downfield as Senate Candidate

Retired NFL quarterback is a longtime Republican

Speculation has swirled about Peyton Manning’s political aspirations since he retired from the NFL. (Slaven Vlasic/Getty Image file photo)

After Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker’s retirement announcement Tuesday, retired NFL quarterback Peyton Manning’s name quickly entered the conversation.

But Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais told Business Insider that Manning would likely choose to run for Sen. Lamar Alexander’s seat if he decides to retire in 2020.

Manning is close with Corker. The two were spotted exiting President Donald Trump’s motorcade in June at Trump National Golf Club in Virginia.

Manning also contributed to Corker’s Senate campaigns. During Corker’s first campaign in 2006, Manning gave Corker $2,100 in both the primary and general elections. 

In Corker’s 2012 reelection cycle, Manning gave him $1,500 in the primary and $2,500 for the general election. In 2014, he also gave to Alexander's re-election campaign.

Manning also was a major supporter of the so-called establishment wing of the Republican Party.

In 2012, Manning gave extensively to Republican nominee Mitt Romney and in the 2016 presidential primary, gave to former Republican Gov. Jeb Bush. He also gave $2,000 to President George W. Bush's 2004 re-election campaign.

Manning was also spotted with Corker near the White House the night of widespread protests against Trump’s travel ban against multiple majority-Muslim countries.

Manning is a beloved figure in Tennessee, having played college football for the University of Tennessee, and coming back to play his senior year amid predictions that he would have been the top pick in the NFL draft that year.

“[Peyton Manning] is a great guy and a popular guy,” DesJarlais said. 

Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold had some advice to Democrats should Manning decide to run — pick a candidate who played at the University of Florida, Manning’s nemesis during his years at UT.

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