Bob Corker’s surprise announcement Tuesday that he will not seek re-election in 2018 could put in play what was once a safe GOP seat.
For Democrats, hoping to ride an anti-Trump wave and to flip as many seats as possible, this means taking another look at James Mackler, the only Democrat currently in the Tennessee race. Mackler is a Jewish attorney from Nashville who served as Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division and is married to a rabbi.
“I am running for the United States Senate to work as hard as I can to restore respect, honesty, and, most importantly, integrity in Washington,” Mackler told the Tennessean Tuesday.
But Corker’s decision not to run could also spell some bad news for Mackler. With an open seat and Democrats sensing a chance for a flip, the party may chose to seek a more seasoned candidate to lead the race, rather than Mackler who is only now making his first steps in the political world.
Another Jewish name thrown into the ring is that of David Kustoff, a Republican freshman congressman who is rumored to be eying the vacant Senate seat. Kustoff has yet to announce his intentions.
Nathan Guttman, staff writer, was the Forward’s Washington bureau chief. He joined the staff in 2006 after serving for five years as Washington correspondent for the Israeli dailies Haaretz and The Jerusalem Post. In Israel, he was the features editor for Ha’aretz and chief editor of Channel 1 TV evening news. He was born in Canada and grew up in Israel. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.