NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Incumbent Bob Corker has defeated four challengers to win the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.
The former Chattanooga mayor faced a much easier time in his re-election bid than he did when he ran in 2006. Then he had a tough primary against two former congressmen and narrowly defeated former Democratic Rep. Harold Ford Jr. in the even more bruising general election campaign.
"We all know that the federal government’s debt burden is unsustainable and that Washington has to live within its means," said Corker in a video statement released following his victory. "All Tennesseans want to reform Social Security and Medicare so that the critical safety net will continue to be there in the future. Solving these tough problems on a tight budget requires us to work together."
"Fortunately, I believe there is growing support on both sides of the aisle for passing tax reforms that encourage job creation, for protecting the solvency of Social Security and Medicare and finally putting an end to deficit spending," he continued. "I’m optimistic that we can make real progress."
With 0.2 percent of precincts reporting, Corker had 47,292 votes, or 85 percent, compared with 2,754 for his nearest challenger Zach Poskevich, or 5 percent.
Democrats nominated Mark Clayton, who raised no campaign cash, to be their candidate to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Corker in November.
Clayton prevailed over six other similarly unknown candidates. With 79 percent of precincts reporting, Clayton had 36,422 votes, or 29 percent, compared with 20,267, or 16 percent, for his nearest challenger Gary Davis.
Clayton, a 35-year-old flooring installer, said in an interview before the election that privacy issues are his main concern, and that he thinks people are being "over-identified by the government and tracked."
In the most recent financial disclosures, Corker had more than $6 million remaining, while no other challenger had more than $19,000.
In other closely-watched races, freshman U.S. Reps. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga and Diane Black of Gallatin defeated challengers in hard-fought Republican races.
Four other House incumbents prevailed over challengers, while the remaining three were unopposed.