U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., will hit the television airwaves in his re-election bid next week.
Voters will see the first two of four ads in a projected $2.5 million ad buy throughout the campaign.
The Corker campaign says the first two 60-second spots are intended to put a spotlight on the former Chattanooga mayor's "path to public service, his frustration with Washington, and his determination to solve the country's most pressing problems."
The ads are running in advance of the Aug. 2 Republican primary. Another 30-second spot is planned later in the primary. The fourth ad, a 30-second commercial, will run in the fall general election campaign in rotation with the other ads.
In one of the two first ads, Corker, speaking directly to the camera, talks about how in the past he found "something was missing" from his life despite a successful business career. That led him to join a church mission to Haiti and eventually led him to public service.
The other ad features his wife, Elizabeth, narrating the lawmaker's trek from construction company owner, through the mission trip, to a growing interest in public service that led to his term as Chattanooga mayor and, in 2006, election to the U.S. Senate.
She notes Corker "got elected mayor, built an entire new waterfront in 35 months. And went on to help recruit Volkswagen to our state. Says the Senate is harder. Too much party first, not enough America first."
Corker has huge name recognition and a big campaign war chest -- $8 million in cash on hand as of March 31, according to Federal Election Commission filings.
His GOP primary opponents are relative unknowns: Brenda Lenard, Zach Poskevich, Fred R. Anderson and Mark Twain Clemens.
Poskevich has reported raising $38,839 this election cycle and his most recent cash balance was $12,926. Lenard filed to run after the first quarter disclosure period. No FEC filings were available for Anderson or Clemens.
Seven Democrats have filed to run including Park Overall, an actress who appeared in a recurring role as nurse Laverne Todd in NBC's "Empty Nest" television series. Other candidates include Larry Crim, Mark E. Clayton, Shaun E. Crowell, Gary Gene Davis, Dave Hancock, T.K. Owens and Benjamin Roberts.
Two prominent Washington political analysts, Charlie Cook and Stewart Rothenberg, see Corker as secure in the general election. The Cook Political Report calls Tennessee "solid" Republican while Rothenberg says the state is "safe" for Corker.
Huckabee to speak at GOP dinner
Former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee will headline the Tennessee Republican Party Statesmen's Dinner on July 21.
"Governor Huckabee has been a solid, conservative voice in politics for many years," state GOP Chairman Chris Devaney said in a news release. "We are thrilled to have him share his message with us as we approach what is undoubtedly one of the most crucial elections of our lifetime."
Huckabee hosts a talk show on the Fox News Channel. His syndicated radio program on Cumulus Media Networks, "The Mike Huckabee Show," is heard on more than 175 stations.
He's also heard three times daily across the nation on "The Huckabee Report," syndicated on almost 600 stations.
Huckabee served as Arkansas governor from 1996-2007. In his 2008 GOP presidential primary bid, Chip Saltsman of Tennessee served as his national campaign manager.
In 2010, Saltsman was general consultant in Chuck Fleischmann's successful 3rd District congressional race. Huckabee endorsed Fleischmann in the bitter GOP primary slugfest with Robin Smith.
No word yet from Fleischmann's current GOP primary opponents Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp about the state GOP's decision to bring in Huckabee.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...