- Associated Press - Monday, April 17, 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler has announced he is running for the Democratic nomination to represent Tennessee in the U.S. Senate.

Mackler said Monday that he wants to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Corker in next year’s general election.

Mackler, 44, suspended his legal career in response to the 9-11 attacks, joining the Army in 2001. He spent three years as a Black Hawk pilot in the 101st Airborne Division that included a deployment to Iraq and an Air Medal for “bold and audacious piloting.”

He later transferred the Judge Advocate General Corps. Mackler left active duty in 2011, but continues to serve in the Tennessee Air National Guard.

Republicans have held both of Tennessee’s seats in the Senate since 1994.

In an interview with The Tennessean (https://tnne.ws/2puRKKt ) on Monday, Corker would not say whether he will seek a third Senate term in 2018. He said “there will be a time and a place for that” discussion.

Corker also would not address speculation that he is interested in running for Tennessee governor in 2018. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam can’t seek re-election because of term limits, and the open race could draw several Republican candidates.

“I’ve been busy carrying out my activities here. I’ve been focused on that - I’m going to continue to be focused on that,” Corker said. “As far as speculation about what I’m going to do or not do, I’d like to talk about that at the appropriate time.”

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