CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – Could Chattanooga keep its grip on the U.S. Senate seat for Tennessee?
Current Mayor Andy Berke says he is considering running for the seat that former mayor Bob Corker is leaving.
So far, the only Democrat who has committed to the race is Nashville attorney James Mackler, who got in before Corker’s announcement.
But the party could struggle to come up with higher profile candidates.
Already, Phil Bredesen, Karl Dean (running for Governor), and Rep. Jim Cooper have all said they will not run for the seat.
That leaves Democratic fundraiser & real estate investor Bill Freeman, and current Nashville Mayor Megan Barry as the only other Democrats on a list of potential candidates put together by The Tennessean.
That same list has 16 Republican names, from Governor Bill Haslam to Chattanooga representative Chuck Fleischmann.
Mayor Berke’s resume includes two terms as Mayor in a Republican dominated region.
He won his re-election bid with 64% of the vote.
Berke can also boast of increasing jobs both manufacturing (VW) and High Tech, along with balancing a budget.
He also served in the state legislature before becoming Chattanooga’s Mayor.
Berke has never hidden his interest in running for a statewide office at some point in his career.
Here is the letter he has sent out to his supporters on his thinking about running for the U.S. Senate.
Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to contact me already about the upcoming open seat in the United States Senate. I have heard loud and clear from you that you are tired of division, politics as usual, and gridlock. Like you, I am ready for common sense leadership and someone who has a proven track record of getting results for Tennesseans.
In the days ahead, I’m going to spend time talking with my family and folks across the state about how I can best serve my community. I would welcome your input about what you want to see in your next Senator as I determine what role I can play in moving our state forward, so reply to this message and let me know what you think. Regardless of what my future holds, Tennessee should send someone to Washington who understands that our economy has to be fairer, our schools better, and our world a place where America leads by example.
Thank you again for your kind words of encouragement and support!