WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker called Sen. Jim Risch on Tuesday to joke Risch must be “the happiest person in the United States,” the Washington Post reported — other than Corker’s family, of course.
Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, announced Tuesday he will not seek re-election next year.
Idaho’s Risch is the next Republican in line in terms of seniority to succeed Corker as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That’s, of course, if the Republicans retain their Senate majority in 2018’s midterm elections. Next in line after Risch is Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, among last year’s contenders for the GOP presidential nomination.
Corker will remain chairman until January 2019.
“We have a long, long clear history of how these things move forward,” Risch told Lesley Clark with McClatchy DC on Wednesday.
Risch currently chairs the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
“I’ve got 15 months left to serve there,” he said. “I’m totally focused on that. When we’re done with this you all know exactly where this is going.”
Rubio told Politco he will not seek the Foreign Relations chairmanship.
Risch was elected to the U.S. Senate in November 2008 after serving as an Idaho state senator, lieutenant governor and governor. His other Senate committee assignments include the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Select Committee on Intelligence and Select Committee on Ethics.
A strong supporter of President Trump, Risch has come to the president’s defense for his stance on such issues as Korea, Russia and immigration.
The other members of Idaho’s delegation recently scored big committee assignments. Idaho’s senior senator, Mike Crapo, picked up the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs chairmanship this year. Congressman Mike Simpson, a longtime member of the House Appropriation Committee, became chair of its Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee in 2013. Congressman Raúl Labrador was named chair of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security in June.