A new poll of likely Tennessee Republican primary voters from the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) shows that Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-07) clobbers Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) by 23 points, 49 percent to 26 percent, in a three person GOP matchup in which former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN-08) garners only nine percent of the vote.
The poll of 600 respondents was conducted between February 12 and 13 and has a margin of error of 4.0 percent, a spokesperson for SCF confirmed to Breitbart News on Wednesday.
The results were even worse for Corker when likely Republican primary voters were asked if they wanted him to retire.
“According to our survey, likely Republican primary voters want him to retire by an overwhelming margin,” the SCF said in an email sent out on Wednesday.
A resounding 64 percent said they wanted Corker to retire, while only 24 percent said he should seek re-election. Only 12 percent were unsure.
“Looking at the favorable and unfavorable opinions that Republican primary voters have of Corker and Blackburn, it’s clear that if Corker runs, it will be at his own peril.” the SCF email noted.
“While Corker has a negative net image (-2%), Blackburn has a very positive net image (+43%),” the email said of the poll results:
Very Favorable – 18%
Somewhat Favorable – 29%
Somewhat Unfavorable – 27%
Very Unfavorable – 22%
Not Sure / No Opinion – 4%
Very Favorable – 36%
Somewhat Favorable – 28%
Somewhat Unfavorable – 10%
Very Unfavorable – 11%
Not Sure / No Opinion – 15%
“While many in the swamp are cheering the idea of Senator Corker running again, Republican voters in Tennessee are not,” the SCF email concluded.
Corker announced on September 26 that he would not seek re-election to a third term. The following month, Blackburn announced her candidacy for the seat Corker is vacating.
All recent polls show Blackburn with a prohibitive lead in the Republican primary, with our without Corker in the race.
On Sunday, Corker launched a trial balloon indicating through a “senior adviser” that he was reconsidering entering the race.
Corker’s interest accelerated on Tuesday, when his spokesperson Micah Johnson told Fox News:
In recent days, people across Tennessee have reached out to Senator Corker with concerns about the outcome of this election because they believe it could determine control of the Senate and the future of our agenda. The senator has been encouraged to reconsider his decision and is listening closely
Local Republicans grassroots conservatives in Tennessee, however, threw cold water on the idea that Corker had any chance of winning the Republican nomination, should he decide to get back in the race, as Breitbart News reported:
In fact, grassroots Tea Party activists in Tennessee are on fire with the idea of trouncing Corker in the August Republican primary, should he decide to challenge Blackburn.
“If Corker makes it official that he’s running, I am calling Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s office in the next minute and offering every ounce of time, energy, events coordination, and money I can muster,” former Putnam County Republican Chairman and conservative activist Rachel Welch tells Breitbart News.
“And I would look forward to the #humiliation Corker would suffer in losing as an incumbent. Go away Liddle Senator Bob Corker. Just GO AWAY,” Welch adds.
“Marsha Blackburn could not ask for better news than Bob Corker getting back into the race. Corker and Fincher will split the establishment vote. That assumes Fincher stays in the race,” Judson Phillips, founder and president of Tea Party Nation and a long-time Tennessee resident tells Breitbart News.
“The Washington swamp wants Corker back in the Senate because they know Marsha Blackburn will put the interests of real Americans above that of the swamp,” Phillips says.
Late Wednesday, the Washington Examiner reported that top Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), “favor Marsha Blackburn as Bob Corker reconsiders retirement.”
Former Gov. Phil Bredesen has an uncontested path to the Democratic nomination in the Tennessee U.S. Senate contest.
The Cook Political Report rates a potential general election matchup between Bredesen and Blackburn as a “Toss Up,” but Rasmussen Reports rates the race “Likely Republican.”