Is “Marsha Our Man?”

Blackburn reportedly exploring a primary challenge to Corker.

Serious threat to Corker’s re-election.

Well, the Wamp vs. Corker boomlet lasted the equivalent length of a political brain fart.  For about 30 minutes there Wamp had a chance to become a U.S. Senator, but he hesitated.  And as the great political philosophizer, Ricky Bobby would put it:

The main reason for the demise of the Wamp candidacy, other than he apparently was not interested in running, was the emergence of Marsha Blackburn as a possible challenger.  Her entry into the race would change, well, everything.

RTP is being flooded with rumors, calls, speculation and hyperventilating over the possibility of Blackburn vs. Little Bob.

But wait, what?  Didn’t Marsha already take herself out of running against Corker?  Back earlier in the summer The TennessCNN breathlessly announced Blackburn was not going to run against Corker.

As usual, The TennessCNN was flat-out wrong.

What Blackburn actually said was “I am running for re-election to the House of Representatives.  That is my focus.”  That was the entirety of her quote.

As RTP noted at the time, that was a carefully and cleverly-worded statement that purposely excluded any mention of the word “Senate” and left open her options.  But cracked political reporter Joel Ebert tortured her statement to the point he claimed that meant she was not going to run against Corker.  Apparently The TennessCNN was so eager to protect the anti-Trump Corker (see their “Bravo, Sen. Corker” column) that they wantonly extrapolated a conclusion that was not based on fact.  It wouldn’t be the first – or the last – time The TennessCNN generated “fake news.”

But back to Marsha.  She is arguably the hottest Republican political property in Tennessee.  She has the money (over $3 million in the bank, plus millions more from well-heeled individuals who hate Corker), the looks, the conservative creds and the electability that few, if any, politicians in the state can match.  Add to that Trump’s animosity towards Corker and you have a real slobberknocker of a race brewing. And it doesn’t hurt that Marsh’ais a woman, which takes away Corker’s favorite tactic – bullying – to try to keep her out of the race.

A Blackburn candidacy would bring a host of attributes that would likely clear the field of other would be contenders such as (especially) Joe Carr.  State Senator Mark Green is also another potentially strong candidate, but in fairness neither he or anyone else can bring the political heat like Blackburn can.  If Marsha declines, Green would be a strong alternative.  And if she does run for the Senate, Green would be the huge favorite to take her seat in Congress.  Whatever Marsha decides, we will likely see Mark Green on the ballot in 2018 – and sitting in Washington as Senator or Congressman come 2019.

But while Corker’s attacks on Trump, and the President’s tweet blasting Corker has turned this race upside down, Marsha does not have unlimited time to make a decision.  With Green and others chomping at the bit, any attempt to “freeze the field” for more than a couple of weeks or so could result in her being left out in the cold.

Rocky Top makes no prediction about what will happen, other than the speculation about Blackburn sure makes politics fun again in Tennessee.  After all, “Speculation is RTP’s recreation.”

[Editors’ note to Marsha:  If you talk to Ward — and we assume you will – just remember, he’s on Corker’s payroll

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