U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), age 78, announced that he will not run for re-election in 2020. Alexander is the chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee. In 2015, he authored the Every Student Succeeds Act, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that replaced No Child Left Behind.
Alexander was twice elected as Governor of Tennessee serving from 1979 to 1987. Alexander was appointed U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush. He was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2003. He served as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference three times during his time in the Senate.
“I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020. The people of Tennessee have been very generous, electing me to serve more combined years as Governor and Senator than anyone else from our state. I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege. I have gotten up every day thinking that I could help make our state and country a little better, and gone to bed most nights thinking that I have. I will continue to serve with that same spirit during the remaining two years of my term,” Alexander said.
While the 2018 U.S. Senate race for the seat vacated by U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) was initially competitive prior to the nomination hearings for Brett Kavanaugh. The backlash to Democratic handling of his nomination helped propel Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) to defeat former Democrat Governor Phil Bredesen by almost 11 points.
It’s uncertain, in a presidential election year with greater turnout in Republican majority state, that this race will be as competitive, but will give conservatives an opportunity to replace the 4-term U.S. Senator with someone more conservative during what should be a contentious Republican primary.