published Saturday, April 16th, 2011

Corker not a target, raises $1.87 million

His campaign account is healthy. National Democrats aren’t targeting him.

So why shouldn’t U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., be happy as he looks ahead to a 2012 re-election campaign that appears to bear little resemblance to his 2006 slugfest with Democrat Harold Ford Jr.

Corker reported raising $1.87 million in the first three months of 2012 and has a cash balance of $2.9 million on hand, according to his Federal Election Commission filing.

The former Chattanooga mayor has raised more than $4 million for his effort so far this cycle. He spent $89,000 in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, Tennessee Republican Party officials are gloating over an announcement this week by the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. U.S. Sen. Patt Murray, D-Wash., said the national group is targeting GOP-held seats in Massachusetts, Nevada, Indiana, Maine, Arizona and Texas.

Tennessee isn’t on that list.

“National Democrats recognize Sen. Corker’s broad support in Tennessee, and I think it’s wise of them to not even waste their money in a state that will overwhelmingly reject the overreaching policies of President Obama and his party,” said state GOP Chairman Chris Devaney in a news release.

A former Corker state director, Devaney said Corker “has served our state well and is a leading voice to curb spending in Washington.”

Polling, meanwhile, looks encouraging for Corker. An independent poll taken earlier this year showed Corker was “strongly favored” for re-election unless former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen decides to run. Bredesen has indicated he doesn’t intend to seek office again.

And while some tea party activists have said they would like to see a hardline conservative take on Corker in next year’s GOP primary, polling shows those who’ve been mentioned don’t match up well against Corker.

Regents members under fire

Tennessee Senate Republicans are coming after three members of the state Board of Regents who failed to attend two days of hearings held last fall on the higher education board’s hiring of John Morgan as chancellor.

Education Committee Chairman Delores Gresham, R-Somerville, filed a resolution that would effectively allow the GOP-controlled Senate to give the boot to regents Agnia Clark and Bobby Thomas, of Nashville, and Jonas Kisber, of Jackson.

All are Democrats who were appointed by then-Gov. Phil Bredesen, a Democrat.

Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said this week he supports the move. Senators do not have to confirm regents’ appointments. They can, however, vote to reject them and because the regents were never confirmed, that is exactly what the resolution does.

The Tennessee Journal reported that Thomas, a former Tennessee Democratic Party chairman, delivered a letter to Gresham in which all three regents apologized for having been unable to attend hearings on Morgan. The nine other regents did.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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