Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee has announced he won't be seeking reelection in 2018, adding an interesting twist to what is shaping up to what is shaping up to be a crucial midterm election.
Corker, who currently chairs the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, has been a key voice in the senate since he won his seat in 2006. He has overseen major issues of the day, such as the Iran nuclear deal in 2015. He's also been one of the Republicans targeted by President Donald Trump.
Trump sent made quite a few public jabs against Corker after the senator criticized him for his controversial response to the violent attacks on demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia this August. Corker said Trump does not understand "the character of this nation," adding that the president does not have the "stability" and "competence" to serve as president. Trump fired back with several tweets, including one which noted Corker's uncertainty in running for another term.
Strange statement by Bob Corker considering that he is constantly asking me whether or not he should run again in '18. Tennessee not happy!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 25, 2017
"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," said Corker in a statement. "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."
Corker was already facing a challenge for his seat from Andy Ogles, a conservative activist, who is running to give Trump support in the senate. Former Tennessee state representative Joe Carr and state Sen. Mark Green have also expressed interest in running for the seat, according to USA Today. With Corker out of the running, the job could be one of the most contentious in 2018.