MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) will not run for another term.
Corker, who previously announced his retirement, had reportedly been reconsidering the decision at the request of fellow Republicans who are concerned the seat could flip to a Democratic candidate.
Corker's absence from the race could bring national attention to Tennessee, because it could swing the balance of power in the Senate.
Democrats think they have a chance to take the seat with Former Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen entering the race. Bredesen is expected to be running against Republican state Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is currently favored as the Republican nominee.
"What happens in Tennessee...potentially controls what happens in the Senate," assistant professor of political science at the University of Memphis Michael Sances said. "Money is going to be pouring in from other parts of the country, so we are going to see a lot of campaigning."
Sances said he believes Corker stepped aside because he knew he'd have a tough primary fight against Blackburn.
Corker and President Donald Trump have traded barbs in the past, with Corker even calling the White House an adult daycare center at one point.
As for the expected race between Bredesen and Blackburn, Sances said early polling shows razor thin margins separating the two candidates.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) had the following to say on Corker's decision:
"Bob Corker is a terrific United States senator and a good friend. I was disappointed in his decision not to run for reelection but respect that decision. I invited Marsha Blackburn to breakfast this morning. We had a good discussion about a variety of issues that we both care about and how we might work together to make the Senate a more effective institution."
Blackburn released the following statement: