Corker Reconsiders Retirement, nevertheless He Must Win Over Trump to Do which

in addition to without Mr. Trump’s direct intervention, Ms. Blackburn is usually highly unlikely to bow to Mr. Corker.

“Marsha Blackburn is usually not getting out of This specific race regardless of who gets in,” said Ward Baker, the Nashville-area lawmaker’s chief strategist.

Further, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, has rebuffed Mr. Corker by telling him which he must secure the president’s support to re-enter the race, according to Republicans familiar with the conversation, a rare act of political deference which suggests he is usually uneasy about driving Ms. Blackburn out of the primary race.

nevertheless Mr. Corker in addition to some of his Senate allies are aggressively working to win over the White House, embarking on what one West Wing official described as a sudden charm offensive. The senator has avoided any criticism of Mr. Trump in recent weeks in addition to on Monday met with Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.

Mr. Trump’s political advisers, getting wind of the meeting, scrambled to brief Ms. Trump in addition to her own staff about Mr. Corker’s renewed interest in running again in addition to his desire for the president’s support, according to a Republican official. An aide to Mr. Corker said Ms. Trump requested the meeting.

More broadly, Mr. Corker’s advisers say he in addition to Mr. Trump have patched up their relationship in addition to the senator is usually simply hearing out those who could like him to remain inside the Senate, a decision he technically does not have to make until Tennessee’s filing deadline in early April.

“In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of This specific election because they believe which could determine control of the Senate in addition to the future of our agenda,” said Micah Johnson, Mr. Corker’s spokeswoman.

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Representative Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee at the Republican National Convention in 2016 in Cleveland.

Credit
Jim Young/Reuters

Mr. Corker is usually not the only Republican who could shake up a closely watched Senate race. Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota, who had been heavily courted by Mr. Trump in addition to different leading Republicans nevertheless decided against a bid, is usually today signaling which he may mount a bid after all against Senator Heidi Heitkamp, North Dakota’s freshman Democrat.

If Mr. Cramer’s potential change of heart is usually lifting Republicans’ spirits, the party is usually today uneasy about the prospect of having one too many Republicans in Tennessee.

Mr. Corker’s hopes for a rapprochement with Mr. Trump illustrate the degree to which loyalty to the president is usually becoming a central litmus test in Republican politics. in addition to which he might consider a reconciliation having a senator who only a few months ago portrayed him as an unruly toddler underscores which there are no permanent friends or enemies to Mr. Trump.

nevertheless party officials overseeing the midterms have little appetite for a bloody primary campaign in Tennessee.

Democrats have cleared their field for Phil Bredesen, a wealthy former two-term governor in addition to mayor of Nashville whose prospects in an increasingly conservative state could markedly improve if he faced a Republican limping into a general election.

Further, in a season full of disappointments across the Senate Republican map, Ms. Blackburn has been a bright spot, raising $2 million inside the final quarter of last year, contributing to different candidates in addition to uniting most of the party’s factions.

“She is usually raising more money in addition to doing more than any different candidate in country,” said Josh Holmes, a Republican consultant in addition to adviser to Mr. McConnell.

Ms. Blackburn, who was already facing former Representative Stephen Fincher inside the primary, is usually signaling which if she is usually forced to take on Mr. Corker she will wield her gender as a political weapon. which could raise a delicate issue for a Senate Republican caucus which includes just all 5 women in its ranks.

“Anyone who thinks Marsha Blackburn can’t win a general election is usually just a plain sexist pig,” said Andrea Bozek, a spokeswoman for Ms. Blackburn, adding, “We aren’t worried about these ego-driven, tired old men.”

which is usually an unmistakable reference to a bloc of establishment-aligned Tennessee Republicans who believe Ms. Blackburn’s conservative politics in addition to hard-charging style may turn off some voters in addition to make her vulnerable against the centrist in addition to low-key Mr. Bredesen.

Tom Ingram, a Republican strategist in addition to a longtime friend of Mr. Corker’s, argued which Republicans could imperil the seat in addition to their one-seat majority if they do not rally around an incumbent who has already won the state twice.

“which’s a dicey race with an unproven statewide candidate against Phil Bredesen,” Mr. Ingram said. “If Corker is usually the nominee, which’s not in play.”

Fueling the anxieties of some Tennessee Republicans is usually the openness some inside the party’s donor wing have toward backing Mr. Bredesen. Concerns about such defections cropped up again This specific week when an invitation to a $5,400-per-couple Bredesen fund-raiser hosted by the widow of the former Nashville Republican powerhouse Ted Welch began circulating among Republicans.

Such talk induces eye-rolling among a younger generation of Republicans in Tennessee.

“Every Republican in Tennessee outside the walls of the Belle Meade Country Club believes Marsha is usually a heavy favorite against anybody who might get in which primary,” said Brad Todd, a Republican consultant raised inside the state who is usually not aligned inside the Senate race.

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