With Blackburn in Senate race, some Tennessee Republicans staying away

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., speaks during the final day of the Republican National Convention on Thursday in Cleveland, Ohio.

NASHVILLE - Tennessee Republicans' 2018 political dominoes began falling into place Thursday after Gov. Bill Haslam announced he will not run to replace fellow Republican, friend and ally U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

Before day's end, U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., announced her statewide bid in a video, describing herself as a "hardcore, card-carrying Tennessee conservative" and adding she's "politically incorrect and proud of it."

Describing the Senate as "totally dysfunctional" and castigating Senate Republicans among other things for their failure to repeal Obamacare, the Brentwood resident also plugged her conservative views on gun rights, opposition to abortion rights and spending.

"I know the left calls me a wingnut or a knuckle-dragging conservative," she said. "And you know what? I say that's all right. Bring it on."

Her announcement brought some clarity to the GOP primary.