Don’t expect Marsha Blackburn to back out of the primary fight for Bob Corker’s Senate seat, even if Corker decides to unretire. A new poll from a PAC backing Blackburn shows her clobbering Corker among Republican primary voters, doubling him up in Tennessee. The prospects for the general election fight against former governor Phil Bredesen look less rosy, however:
A recently conducted poll from a political action committee supporting U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s bid for the U.S. Senate found she had a 2-to-1 advantage among Republican primary voters over U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
The survey, which was conducted Tuesday through Thursday, comes just days after speculation arose that Corker is reconsidering his decision to not seek a third term.
In a potential head-to-head matchup among Republican primary voters, the poll found 55 percent of respondents favored Blackburn, while Corker garnered just 26 percent.
Take this with a grain of salt, of course, while considering the source. CDP started off as the Stop Hillary PAC a few years ago but morphed into its current identity last year after Donald Trump took office. The chair, Ted Harvey, used to work in the Reagan White House and most recently had a seat in the Colorado legislature before launching this PAC. He’s been quite successful at raising funds and making waves at this independent org, with its most prominent effort being a lawsuit alleging money-laundering schemes between the Hillary Clinton campaign and the DNC.
The methodology and the toplines of the survey from WPA Intelligence do not appear to be readily available, but the CDP’s motives in regard to Corker seem obvious from its title. Corker has been a consistent critic of Trump, who has spent considerable time firing back at Corker as well, although the feud has settled down for a couple of months. Still, WPA Intelligence is a legit firm, whose clients have included another occasional Trump critic in Ted Cruz.
And, as noted above, the news wasn’t all good for either Republican, but especially not for Corker:
In a head-to-head matchup between Blackburn and Bredesen, 44 percent of likely voters said they favored the Brentwood Republican, while Bredesen netted 39 percent. …
In a matchup between Bredesen and Corker, likely voters supported the Democrat. Forty-four percent of voters said they favored Bredesen, compared with 35 percent for Corker.
With a ±4.9% margin of error in the poll, the survey essentially finds a dead heat for Blackburn — from a poll commissioned by a supporting PAC. Bredesen is not going to be easily beaten, especially given his favorability numbers. He gets a 46/17 for a +29 in the poll; Blackburn gets a 40/26 for +14, and Corker’s underwater at 43/47. His criticism of Trump in a state that gave him a 26-point win over Hillary Clinton hasn’t exactly made him beloved in his state — which is why Corker may reconsider his reconsideration of retirement in the end.
Regardless of what Corker decides, Blackburn’s in for the long haul, she told Hugh Hewitt on Friday:
HH: So to be absolutely clear, your decision to run is irrevocable, and it does not matter what Senator Corker decides to do? Marsha Blackburn is in?
MB: That’s right. When he announced his retirement, I looked at the race. I did all my due diligence. My family talked through the issue. We prayed about it. We went to some people who are close to us and talked through the options that were there. And we decided that this was what we wanted to do. You know, Hugh, some of us are called to public service. And that is a calling in my life. And I am very drawn to doing what I can do to help preserve faith, family, freedom, hope and opportunity. And my husband and I decided that this is the race that would be the right race, the right fit. It was the right time for our family, so we’re in the race.
HH: And do you think you’d beat Bob Corker if he runs?
MB: I certainly do.
At least from this poll, she’s probably right — although both of them might run into a Bredesen buzzsaw. Trump will have to jump into this race, which he has yet to do, but he’s a lot more likely to campaign for a vocal supporter like Blackburn than a critic like Corker. Blackburn stepped up to Trump’s defense on his DACA deal on Fox News yesterday, saying that she opposes “amnesty” but sounded as though she’d take Trump’s deal in order to differentiate for the “dreamers.” How long before Trump jumps into this primary question? Maybe not long, if only to get Corker to stick with his retirement.