Is the next governor already in the picture?

newsroom@tri-statedefender.com | 11/10/2014, 10:17 a.m.

— BOB CORKER: The former Chattanooga mayor had been widely expected to consider a run for governor at the end of his second term in the U.S. Senate in 2018. But the GOP takeover of the Senate on Tuesday put Corker in line to become chairman of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, which could make a return to state politics less likely. Corker also hasn't ruled out making a bid for president.

— BETH HARWELL: The speaker of the state House of Representatives is a strong Haslam ally and former chairwoman of the state Republican Party. She has built out her statewide connections since becoming the General Assembly's first female speaker in 2011.

— BILL HAGERTY: Haslam's commissioner for economic and community development, a longtime friend and adviser to former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has shot down speculation that he would run for Nashville mayor. But if he'd be able to tap the resources of fellow deep-pocketed Romney supporters, he'd be able to quickly create a formidable gubernatorial campaign.

— TRE HARGETT: Halfway through his second term as secretary of state, the former House Republican leader from Bartlett has raised some eyebrows by using his position for apparent self-promotion. Most recently, his office issued new "I Voted" stickers emblazoned with Hargett's name and looking a lot like campaign bumper stickers.

— RON RAMSEY: The speaker of the state Senate has blamed his distant third-place finish in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary on his inability to keep pace with the fundraising prowess and personal wealth of Haslam, the eventual winner. Despite that defeat, Ramsey was able to exert much influence over policy at the Capitol, and may jump at another chance to try to make the leap to the top job.

— DIANE BLACK: The congresswoman from Gallatin helped push the state constitutional amendment on abortion past the finish line with a late infusion of $500,000 contribution from herself and her husband.

— MARK GREEN: The freshman state senator has ruffled some feathers among colleagues by hiring a Washington consulting firm to help him build his image beyond his Clarksville district. Green is a former army surgeon who has written a book about attending to Saddam Hussein on the night of his capture in Iraq in 2003.

— JOHN SCHROER: The transportation commissioner, a former Franklin mayor, has kept a busy schedule doling out transportation grants around the state. Whether Schroer remains in charge of TDOT while the Haslam administration mulls a gas tax increase may be a telltale sign of his future aspirations.