Tennessee Democrats are in disarray given the losses in the last election, and with no prominent Democrats on the scene in the state it should give incumbent Republicans job security. But the National Journal rates U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., as vulnerable—not from the Democrats but from a challenge by the right.
Meanwhile, Gov. Bill Haslam has no strong Democrat in sight come his re-election in 2014. But the Tea Party has rallied behind Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, who has set himself up as more conservative than the governor, which has led to Haslam being referred to a socialist, “Mr. Rogers,” and a RINO.
Ramsey lost to Haslam in the primary last year, though he split the conservative vote with Congressman Zach Wamp. Will Ramsey and the conservative wing of the Republican Party challenge Haslam for reelection? That’s a scenario that hovers over the current legislative session in which Ramsey is appealing to conservatives to support him in his opposition to the more moderate Haslam on issues like the teacher union ban bill.
Both Corker and Haslam were elected as center-right candidates in statewide elections, though each won with pluralities over two conservative opponents in their primaries.