** SPECIAL REPORT**
Is Bob Corker begging for a serious primary opponent?
And will Zach Wamp be that opponent?
Corker calls Trump “unstable” and “not competent” to be president.
For a guy who spends alternate efforts sucking up to, then vilifying President Trump, Sen. Bob Corker may have finally crossed a line from which he cannot return. Speaking before a gaggle of reporters last week, Corker took a personal and particularly vile swipe at Trump. Worse, he then doubled down at a Columbia luncheon, further criticizing the man from whom he had shamelessly begged for a big administration position. Trump wisely turned him away from working for the White House.
Then to put the left-wing seal of approval on Corker’s gratuitous attacks, none other than Tennessean liberal political columnist, Mr./Mrs. David Plazas published a hearty “Bravo, Senator Corker” editorial.
Such an editorial could be a kiss of death for the Little Napoleon come primary day.
For at the same time Corker was trashing Trump, working beneath the placid waters of the feverish swamp known as ChattaVegas, came word there may be a very credible opponent for Corker starting to stir:
It started with a recent op-ed penned by Wamp in the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. In that article Wamp focused on Trump’s central theme: “Drain the swamp in Washington.” He led off with a specific example:
“Who among average Americans believes it is ethical for lawmakers to actively day trade stocks in companies when they have legislative power to directly affect those same industries?”
That appeared to be a very thinly veiled swipe at one of the most notorious senate day-traders of all time: Bob Corker. (You can read about Corker’s day trading of CBL stock here).
Wamp then followed that with radio and national news interviews calling for higher standards and ethics in Washington — while sounding very much like a politician rediscovering his mojo.
RTP has received several tips from our spies in Chattanooga claiming the rumblings are real. So as we try to decipher the credibility of the rumors, here are some deadly serious things for Wamp (and Corker) to consider:
“Fool me once.” Most people have probably forgotten that Wamp had made careful preparations to run for the Senate in 2006, even going so far as informing leadership of his intention to leave the House and staying out of the 2002 senate and governors races. Then Corker muddied the field and jumped in first, forcing Wamp to reconsider. Wamp never forgot what Corker did. Revenge is a dish best served cold.
Wamp is the better candidate. Corker carries a diffident air about him that borders on disdain for those he considers beneath him. Not so, Wamp. After 16 years serving in the “peoples house” as congressman, and a hard-fought race for Governor in 2010, Wamp is battle tested and — we assume — tan, rested & ready. Wamp is a populist with deep ties to the religious community in the state, while Corker is an arrogant multi-millionaire who suffers from short-man’s syndrome. And Wamp’s entry into the race would likely clear the field of other candidates like Joe Carr.
Corker is vulnerable – damned vulnerable. Recent polls show he is one of the most untrusted political figures in the state. One poll showed Marsha Blackburn, with less than half of Corker’s name ID among Republicans, would start a race against him in a dead heat. That’s not good for Bob.
Also making Corker highly vulnerable is his myriad of personal financial dealings that have made him a wealthy man – dealings which are highly unethical and legally suspect. Corker has largely skated on multiple charges of financial impropriety while in office — so far — but RTP sources say the corruption is very real, including two formal complaints against Corker still languishing in the Senate “Ethics” Committee.
The Trump factor. Corker has probably screwed himself with the one person who dominates every primary race in Tennessee: Donald Trump. Corker’s sneering insults have crossed the line and candidates who are perceived as anti-Trump are going to have YUGE problems in a GOP primary.
Of course, those who have tried to predict what Trump might do in a primary have been repeatedly surprised by Trump (Mo Brooks in Alabama couple of weeks ago comes to mind). So hedge your bets accordingly.
MONEY — the most important consideration. Corker has made tens of millions for his own personal bank account while ostensibly working full-time as a U.S. senator. That, and a $6 million campaign war chest has thus far scared off people such as Blackburn and State Senator Mark Green.
So where would Wamp find the hefty funds needed to take on Corker? Glad you asked. It appears that for the last several years, Corker has been shilling for Wells Fargo’s interests while simultaneously trying to help the Obama administration steal money from Fanny Mae and Freddie Mac to pay for Obamacare. All this while overseeing the financial and housing industries from his perch on the Senate Banking & Housing Committee. That has royally pissed off a whole host of hedge fund managers and financial types whose clients (as well as taxpayers) lost billions when Corker and Sen. Mark Warner participated in one of the biggest taxpayer thefts in history.
Conservative estimates are that anywhere from $5 – $6 million in direct contributions and independent expenditures from the financial community awaits a credible candidate like Wamp – more than enough to mount a competitive race. And Wamp could legitimately allow the financial communities’ money into his race and still maintain his position as an ethical reformer simply by refusing to serve on the Senate Banking Committee – problem solved.
So there you have it: Wamp has Motivation, Opportunity and Resources to take on Corker in a GOP primary and to win.
Will he do it? Who knows? But if Wamp gave a race serious consideration, it appears he would have a serious chance, backed by serious money.
Not to mention a terrific platform to help force change in The Swamp.