WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Bob Corker coasted to win election to a second term Tuesday night, easily outpacing Democrat Mark Clayton.
Corker, 60, is in line to become either chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee or its highest-ranking GOP member in his second term. He also wants to continue serving on the Senate Banking Committee.
“I’m deeply appreciative that the people of our state would allow me to continue to be a part of solving the problems of our country and shaping our future,” Corker said. He added that he is “more optimistic and energized” than he was when first elected in 2006.
Corker, who by the first of the year had already raised $10.7 million, with $7.3 million in cash on hand, was without serious opposition in either the primary or the general election.
Clayton, 36, of Whites Creek, was disowned by the Tennessee Democratic Party because of his views on gay people and his association with a Washington organization regarded as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
After getting a seat on the Banking Committee in 2008, Corker, former mayor of Chattanooga, took a lead role for Republicans in trying to negotiate financial industry reforms with majority Democrats.
But Democrats went their own way in passing the Dodd-Frank package in 2010.
Corker also has tried to work with Democrats in searching for ways to trim federal spending and separated himself from most Republicans in supporting a new strategic arms treaty with the Russians. But he has been a reliable conservative on most issues, especially in opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care reform and economic stimulus, and has a lifetime score of 85 percent from the American Conservative Union.
And most recently, he has led Republican voices in questioning Obama’s actions in regard to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Clayton had said he was running a “low-budget, high-impact” campaign, depending on face-to-face meetings and the Internet.