CB Polling conducted 3 online Google Consumer Surveys of Tennessee residents from September 26th to September 29th. The sample consists of 1008 respondents, out of which 416 declared their intention to vote in the Tennessee U.S. Senate Republican Primary of 2018. 37% or respondents indicated they would vote for Peyton Manning (R), while 21% indicated they would pledge their support for Marsha Blackburn (R). Clay Travis (R) and Joe Carr (R) garnered support of 5% while 32% preferred some other candidate.
Tennessee Senator Bob Corker announced that he will not run for re-election in 2018 on on Tuesday, September 26th. This may be an indication that the Senator will be more vocal in criticizing President Trump and his policies in his final year on Capitol Hill. Corker embraced Trump during the campaign and he was even considered for the Secretary of State position, which ultimately went to Rex Tillerson. However, in August, his support for the President seemed to have waned when he was quoted as saying “Trump hasn’t demonstrated the stability or competence to be successful”.
His departure opens the door for other possible candidates who are mulling over Senate bids; these include Marsha Blackburn, Peyton Manning and Clay Travis among others.
Although Peyton Manning was mentioned as a potential candidate by Bob Corker himself, he has indicated his unwillingness to run for Senate. Fox Sports commentator Clay Travis, known for his off-the-wall comments, has signaled that he might run if Manning doesn’t. However, the strongest candidate in the race appears to be Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) who is likely to announce her intentions in the coming days.
If Blackburn enters the race, she becomes the heavy favorite and ultimately may not have much competition in the primary. In a poll conducted among Republican primary voters in June by The Tennessee Star, Marsha Blackburn was shown to be in a statistical tie with Bob Corker among primary Republican voters. She may also command the support of Steven Bannon in his war on the GOP — as she has been an outspoken critic of immigration and Obamacare while being a contributing author for Breitbart.
Link to the accompanying press release here