Corker to face Ford in Tennessee U.S. Senate race

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Former Chattanooga Mayor Bob Corker won a bruising three-way Republican primary for U.S. Senate and can now look ahead to an equally tough race in November.

He will face Harold Ford Jr., a Memphis congressman who would be the first black U.S. senator in the South since Reconstruction.

Ford could also help the Democratic Party take control of the Senate. With 96% of precincts reporting, Corker won 223,571 votes, or 48 percent of the total, to Ed Bryant's 156,172, or 34 percent of the vote. Van Hilleary had 78,961, or 17%.

"The people of Tennessee have spoken, and I like what they have to say," Corker said to supporters in Chattanooga. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is stepping down to consider a possible presidential bid in 2008.

Ford had an easier challenge in the Democratic primary Thursday with no serious opposition. With 96% of precincts counted, Ford had 327,191, or 80% of the vote.