NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – With U.S. Senator Bob Corker undecided on running again next year, at least one member of his party is already jumping in the race.
Conservative activist Andy Ogles officially announced Thursday morning after months of speculation.
Ogles is a familiar face around Tennessee’s Capitol Hill as state director of the Tennessee chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP)–an organization founded by the Koch brothers empire which has supported numerous conservative causes.
As state director of AFP, Ogles was in several state capitol fights, including the one this past year, over the gas tax increase; which his group unsuccessfully opposed. He’s won some others such as efforts to repeal the Hall Income Tax.
“With AFP, I have spent the last four years traveling the state,” Ogles told News 2 earlier Thursday after he had resigned his position.
It meant that he could now mince few words about why he thinks Bob Corker should leave Washington.
The mounting federal debt that Ogles calls “a national security issue” is a big reason.
“Donald trump ran on drain the swamp and there are a lot of swamp creatures up there that we kind of like, but if you have been up there 10-12 years you are responsible for this debt,” said Ogles.
Corker’s potential vulnerability came right from the top after the senator criticized the President Trump’s verbal responses about the Charlottesville tragedy.
President Trump tweeted on the senator’s indecision about running and that Tennessee apparently was “not happy” with the senator, but there’s no doubt Ogles is with the president on a variety of issues
“Now it’s time for me to move and fight on some of these other issues, he said ‘let’s drain the swamp.’ well, yes-sir Mr. President,” Ogles added.
Ogles is not the only Tennessee Capitol Hill figure interested in Senator Corker’s seat.
State Senator Mark Green says he is “strongly considering it.”
Former state representative Joe Carr says he’s started a political action committee to defeat Corker, but he won’t say yet if he’s running in the Republican Primary like Ogles, and possibly Senator Green.
Nashville businessman Larry Crim says he is also in the race.