Sen. Lamar Alexander will not seek re-election in 2020

Posted at 11:25 AM, Dec 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-18 07:14:42-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander announced Monday he will not run for re-election in 2020.

Alexander has held the seat since 2003 after former Sen. Fred Thompson retired. He was also the 45th Governor of Tennessee and was United States Secretary of Education from 1991 to 1993.

Alexander released the following statement, Monday:

“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 is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. In October 2019, will have served more combined years – 24 years, 9 months – as Governor and U.S. Senator than any other Tennessean.

The announcement comes a little more than a year after Sen. Bob Corker announced his retirement in September 2017. U.S. Senator-elect Marsha Blackburn defeated former Governor Phil Bredesen back in November to fill the seat.

"I was fishing in Canada in August and I thought about this, and I thought 'well the people of Tennessee have been really generous to me. They’ve let me serve as governor, and senator combined. Longer than anybody in history of Tennessee and that’s enough,'" Alexander said in an interview after his announcement.

He said he hopes to be productive until his time is up.

"I hope I can get as much done in my next two years as I have in some of the other times; so my focus is on healthcare costs, college education."

Once he's out of office, he said he looks forward to life after politics.

"I hope people will remember me as someone who got up everyday thinking he was going to do something good for the state or the country and went to bed most nights thinking that he had."

Read more: Haslam, lawmakers react to Alexander’s retirement