KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (TNS/WMOT) -- A University of Tennessee political scientist says the state’s democrats could take advantage of turmoil in the Republican party and mount a serious challenge for the Senate seat being vacated by Bob Corker.
Dr. Richard Pacelle at the University of Tennessee says Corker's decision creates an interesting challenge for the Republican Party, which has held both of the state's Senate seats since 1995.
"So you'll have a battle between the more Tea Party conservatives trying to get that nomination, as well as the main establishment, and so this is going to become a place now where Democrats might decide they might put their toe in the water and see if they have an opportunity to challenge for this seat."
Dr. Pacelle says Corker’s departure will mean a loss of influence for Tennessee. He notes that Corker serves on several key Senate committees including Foreign Relations and Banking. It will take a little time before his replacement has the seniority to earn key committee seats back.
"In the Senate, just about everybody has some basis of power, and so it would take a little while, and certainly I think, particularly with Sen. Corker, it would take awhile to replace that. But it wouldn't be like you'd find in the House where you'd just go from 100 to zero."
In their ongoing feud, President Trump recently tweeted that Corker couldn’t win an election for “dog catcher” in Tennessee, but Dr. Pacelle disagrees. He believes Corker could be positioning himself to challenge Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2020.