Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander will not run for re-election in 2020, he announced Monday.
“I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020,” he said in a statement. “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.”
The 78-year-old has been a senator since 2003 and had a key role in the battle to shape health care as chair of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
“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” Alexander continued in his statement. “I will continue to serve with that same spirit during the remaining two years of my term.”
The 2020 race will be Tennessee’s second contest for an open Senate seat in two years, reported USA Today. Tennesseans voted in their first female senator, Republican Marsha Blackburn, in November.
Names are already floating for who could replace Alexander, whose experience included eight years as Tennessee’s governor and two years as the U.S. secretary of education under late President George H.W. Bush.
Tennessee politicians including outgoing Republican Gov. Bill Haslam, Republican Rep. Diane Black or Democratic Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke could run for Alexander’s seat, reported USA Today.
If he had chosen to run again, Alexander would have been 86 by the end of his fourth term, reported USA Today.
Alexander sponsored the wide-reaching Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 that President Donald Trump signed in October.
Alexander offered what he considered a centrist compromise bill as an alternative to repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
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