Corker, Fleischmann offer congrats to Trump

Corker, Fleischmann offer congrats to Trump

November 9th, 2016 by Andy Sher in Politics State

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., gets a thumbs-up from Donald Trump at the presumptive Republican nominee's campaign event in Raleigh, N.C., Tuesday. Corker's appearance was the first by anyone on Trump's reported short list of running mates since he began vetting them in a series of meetings.

Photo by Photo By Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

The Chattanooga Free Press editorial page believe U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann deserves a fourth term in office.

The Chattanooga Free Press editorial page believe U.S....

Photo by Doug Strickland /Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann today congratulated President-elect Donald Trump on his upset victory Tuesday over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

With unofficial returns showing the billionaire business tycoon and former TV reality star so far winning the Electoral College over Clinton by 276-218, Corker said "the American people and the citizens of Tennessee have spoken in a remarkable and resounding way, and I congratulate President-elect Trump on his hard earned win."

Corker said in his statement that "the real work now begins as we address the many challenges facing our great country, and I am looking forward to working with President Trump and the rest of the Congress to move our country forward."

Here in Tennessee, Trump won 61.06 percent of the vote and the state's 11 electoral votes. It takes 270 to become president.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said in a statement that "I wholeheartedly congratulate President-elect Donald Trump on his historic and hard-fought win.  America has spoken and it's time Washington listens. I look forward to working with him and continuing to serve the Third District of Tennessee." 

Fleischmann easily coasted to victory in the 3rd Congressional District, which includes Chattanooga, in Tuesday's balloting.

A former Chattanooga mayor who at one point had been under consideration by Trump as his running mate until the senator took himself out from consideration, Corker is chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

While some Tennessee Republicans, including Gov. Bill Haslam, spurned Trump, Corker did not.

The senator has had a top committee aide - counsel John Rader - working on the now-president-elect's transition team for weeks. Corker has been seen by some as a potential Secretary of State or Secretary of the Treasury in a Trump administration.

At the same time, Corker is virtually assured of retaining his Foreign Relations Committee chairmanship, given that Republicans maintained their Senate majority on Tuesday.  And there is some speculation Corker could run in 2018 to succeed Haslam.

Meanwhile, the National Republican Senatorial Committee's political effort this cycle was headed by yet another Tennessean, Ward Baker, and he's already receiving kudos for helping what had been seen by many as a nearly impossible task given the number of GOP senators up for reelection in 2016.

Another Tennessean who has been working on the Trump transition team is Bill Hagerty, the state's former Economic and Community Development commissioner who also helped raise campaign cash for Trump.

The state's top Republican, Haslam, however, did not support Trump in the general election. When a tape of then-reality TV star's lewd remarks to a show host about groping women erupted in the campaign, Haslam had called on the GOP nominee to step aside for his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.

At the time, Haslam said he would not vote for Trump. Nor would he vote for Clinton, he emphasized, noting he intended to write in another Republican on his ballot. 

Speaking with reporters Wednesday before Tennessee polls closed, the governor sidestepped questions about what name he wrote in. 

"I don't think most Tennesseans really care who I voted for, I really don't," Haslam said.

Asked how Tennessee would fare under a Trump or Clinton administration, Haslam said it was  "way too early to say. Obviously those are two very different people. You tend to think we would do better under a Republican president, just given our representation, with seven of our nine congressmen and both of our senators. But it's too early to say."

If Clinton were to win, Haslam said, "which Hillary is going to be president, the one who has traditionally taken a fairly down-the-middle path or the one who came out in the last debate in the first 30 minutes of it, way to the left?"

While many Tennessee Republicans were celebrating Trump's victory, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said in a statement that "there has never been a more important time for civility.

"I hope the president-elect will pledge to represent all people – including those who legitimately and genuinely feel threatened by him – not just those who voted for him," the Nashville Democrat said.