Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) has announced he will not seek reelection this year, another blow to the Republican establishment wing that comes on the same day the latest Republican effort to revamp the Affordable Care Act failed.
Corker and other establishment Republicans have come under fire from President Trump and his supporters for not delivering in the early days of the new administration.
Once considered an ally of Trump’s national security team, Corker and Trump traded insults during the August break amid chatter that staunch conservatives would mount a primary challenge to the Foreign Relations chairman.
Corker’s retirement will create what is likely to be a highly contested, ideologically driven Republican primary. It also creates a vacuum among Senate Republicans for leaders on national security issues.
“After much thought, consideration and family discussion over the past year, Elizabeth and I have decided that I will leave the United States Senate when my term expires at the end of 2018,” the Chattanooga Republican said in a statement.
“When I ran for the Senate in 2006, I told people that I couldn’t imagine serving for more than two terms. Understandably, as we have gained influence, that decision has become more difficult. But I have always been drawn to the citizen legislator model, and while I realize it is not for everyone, I believe with the kind of service I provide, it is the right one for me.
“I also believe the most important public service I have to offer our country could well occur over the next 15 months, and I want to be able to do that as thoughtfully and independently as I did the first 10 years and nine months of my Senate career.
Corker recently called into question Trump’s stability, and Trump responded by tweeting that Corker was “constantly asking me” whether to seek reelection.
This story will be updated.