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NASHVILLE — Lt. Gov. Randy McNally on Wednesday threw his support to Marsha Blackburn's U.S. Senate GOP primary bid, calling on Republicans to unite around the Brentwood congresswoman as incumbent Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., weighs reversing his decision to retire.

McNally, the Republican state Senate speaker, tweeted that "it is time for all @TNGOP to rally around @VoteMarsha for Senate."

He is now one of 19 of 28 Republican state senators publicly endorsing Blackburn as the congressman seeks to build momentum as Corker publicly ponders getting in with one poll indicating the outspoken Blackburn could have a tough time with Democrats' expected nominee, former Gov. Phil Bredesen.

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Last week, former U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., who entered the contest last fall, announced he was withdrawing and openly encouraged Corker, already said to be considering it, to get in.

Area senators announcing for include Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville; Sen. Janice Bowling, R-Tullhoma, and Sen. Ken Yager, R-Kingston.

McNally wasn't on the original release from the Blackburn campaign.

At this point, the two Republican senators from Corker's home county, Todd Gardenhire of Chattanooga and Bo Watson of Hixson, aren't on the list.

In a statement, Blackburn said "these leaders are dedicated public servants, and I am grateful for their advice, friendship, and continued support. I look forward to working with them to serve Tennesseans in the U.S. Senate."

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow on Twitter @AndySher1.

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