ENG: Robert Phillips "Bob" Corker, Jr. (born August 24, 1952), is the junior United States Senator from Tennessee. Before his election to the Senate in 2006, he served as mayor of Chattanooga, Tennessee from 2001 to 2005. Corker was a successful businessman prior to holding public office.
Early political career
Corker first ran for the United States Senate in 1994, losing the Republican primary to eventual winner Bill Frist. During the primary, Frist’s campaign manager labeled Corker “pond scum” in a Corker attack, which made statewide headlines.
In 1995, Corker was appointed Commissioner of Finance and Administration for the State of Tennessee, working for Governor Don Sundquist.
Although Chattanooga's mayors are generally Democrats, as Republican mayor of the fourth-largest city in Tennessee from 2001 to 2005, Corker oversaw a $120 million renovation project, including an expansion of the Hunter Museum, a renovation of the Creative Discovery Museum, an expansion of Chattanooga's River Walk, and the addition of a new salt water building to the Tennessee Aquarium.
2006 United States Senate race
In 2004, Corker announced that he would seek the U.S. Senate seat to be vacated by incumbent Republican Senator Bill Frist, who had announced that he would not run for reelection. In the Republican primary election, he ran against two former congressmen, Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary.
Both of his opponents ran as strong conservatives, denouncing Corker as a moderate and eventually labelling him a leftist. In the course of his primary campaign, Corker spent $4.2 million on television advertising, especially in the western portion of the state, where he was relatively unknown before the primary. In the August primary election, he won with 48% of the vote over Bryant's 34% and Hilleary's 17%.
For the general election campaign, his Democratic opponent, Harold Ford, Jr., challenged Corker to seven televised debates across the state. In response, Corker said he would debate Ford, though he did not agree to seven debates. The two candidates eventually participated in three televised debates: in Memphis on October 7, in Chattanooga on October 10, and in Nashville on October 28.
In October 2006, as polls indicated that Ford was maintaining a slight lead over Corker, - the Republican National Committee ran a television advertisementthat would provoke a nationwide outcry. In the 30 second television advertisement, sound bites of numerous "people in the street" pronouncing Ford wrong for Tennessee were interspersed with two shots of a white woman animatedly recalling meeting Ford—who is African-American and who was unmarried at the time—at "the Playboy party". The ad concludes with this woman leeringly inviting Ford to phone her.The ad was denounced by many people, including former Republican Senator and Secretary of Defense under Bill Clinton, William Cohen, who called it “a very serious appeal to a racist sentiment.” Corker subsequently pulled ahead in the polls. Corker went on to win the election by less than three percentage points. He was the only new Republican Senator in the 110th Congress. Tennessee holds the distinction of being the only U.S. state to elect a new Republican to both houses of Congress in the 2006 mid-term elections.
Corker was sworn in as Senator on January 4, 2007. At the ceremony he was accompanied by “two former Senate majority leaders from Tennessee, Howard Baker and Bill Frist”.
In September, 2009, Corker became a ranking member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, replacing former Sen. Mel Martinez. On September 30, 2009 Corker described Canada as being "parasitic" for siphoning U.S. dollars to that country with low prescription drug prices.
He stated that "In essence, the Canadian government and its citizens are taking advantage of our citizens by virtue of setting prices that are lower than competitive prices."
In late February 2010, Corker took a decidedly less bipartisan turn when he became the sole senator to back retiring Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky in filibustering a 30-day extension of expiring unemployment and COBRA benefits.
On May 20, 2010 Corker voted against the Senate Financial Regulations Bill that if passed would increase scrutiny of financial derivatives traded by major U.S. banks and financial institutions. Senator Corker does not believe that the government should regulate markets more carefully, but rather that they should be regulated by current laws already on the books. Senator Corker supports the view of many conservatives that the Glas Steagall Act should not be reimplemented. Senator Corker has been a vocal opponent of financial regulations passed by the Senate in 2010.
He also opposes limits to credit card fees imposed by banks on merchant transactions. The main critique of financial reform offered by Corker on June 10, 2010 at the joint House and Senate conference on Financial Regulation was that it would hurt industry and jobs if passed. Corker offered no evidence for his contention that regulating derivatives would impose constraints on the financial recovery of the United States.
Senator Corker was one of three Republicans to support the New STrategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in September 2010.