Senator Lamar Alexander announced Monday he will not seek re-election in 2020.
Afterward, Governor Bill Haslam said he would seriously consider seeking the seat.
Senator Alexander, 78, said, "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.”
Senator Bob Corker said, “One of the highlights of my time in the Senate has been working with Lamar Alexander. I often tell him he is the legislator of the decade because of the effective way he has worked across the aisle to pass legislation that directly affects the lives of so many throughout our state and around the country. As one of the finest statesmen our state has ever seen, Lamar will leave behind a remarkable legacy.
"I know he will press through the next two years with great vigor, and I look forward to all he will accomplish on behalf of Tennesseans as he completes his service in Washington. I thank Lamar for his friendship and am excited for Honey and him as they begin to think about their next chapter together.”
Governor Bill Haslam said, “It is almost impossible to measure the impact of Lamar Alexander’s commitment to Tennessee. His time as governor paved the way for the economic position we enjoy today as a leading state for business, and his educational reforms were ahead of his time. As a senator, he has distinguished himself as a national leader, while always reminding everyone that our founders designed our government for most of the power to be delegated to the states. No one has served our state longer as a governor and senator, and few, if any, have served it better than Lamar.”
Lt. Governor Randy McNally said, “Lamar Alexander is a Tennessee legend. The foundation of Tennessee's modern success as a state and a people was built upon his wise governance. All Tennesseans owe him a great debt. Lamar, along with Howard Baker and Winfield Dunn, was responsible for the modern rebirth of the Republican Party. But he always put principles over party, people over politics. Lamar always did what was best for Tennessee. As a young legislator, I was honored to work with then-Governor Alexander and was consistently impressed with his diligence and integrity. His mentorship of me and countless others has been invaluable. Though he may not be running for re-election, I have no doubt Lamar will continue to serve our state with distinction for the next two years as Senator and as elder statesmen beyond that. We will need him.”
Governor-elect Bill Lee said, “Senator Lamar Alexander has faithfully served Tennesseans at the state and federal level for decades. A seventh-generation Tennessean and principled conservative, our state benefited from his thoughtful leadership. I am thankful for Lamar’s friendship and wish him the best.”
Congressman Chuck Fleischmann said, “Throughout his illustrious career as a public servant Senator Lamar Alexander has proven that he is second to none. Lamar is a fine example of a statesman, a scholar, and a longtime voice of the Volunteer State. I believe that he has been successful in his mission to make our state and country better, and on behalf of all Tennesseans, I thank him for that. I will certainly miss his friendship and partnership in the halls of Congress, and congratulate him on an unparalleled legacy of public service.”
Congressman Scott DesJarlais said, “Senator Alexander has given his life to public service, and Tennesseans will remember his many contributions as our state's Governor and Senator, as well as U.S. Education Secretary and President of the University of Tennessee, leading efforts to improve rural health and education. I have enjoyed our work together and look forward to collaborating over the next two years.”
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden said, "Senator Alexander has been the definition of a statesman throughout his life of service to our nation and state. His work at all levels of government has made the lives of Tennesseans and Americans better. He represented Tennessee as Governor and Senator for more combined years than anyone else in our state's history, and we owe him a debt of gratitude. His leadership will be missed, and we wish him and Honey our best."