Sen. Lamar Alexander will not run for reelection
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) will not run for another term in the Senate, a decision that represents a body blow to the institution and comes as a surprise to many of his colleagues on Capitol Hill.
A former governor, Cabinet member, presidential candidate and now the chairman of the influential Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Alexander decided to call it quits after three terms despite polls showing him in strong position in 2020. He’d be running in a conservative state and on the same ballot as President Donald Trump.
"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 Alexander said on Monday. "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 widely respected by Democrats and Republicans, the rare senator who is close to both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. With his retirement, the Senate will lose a key negotiating conduit during times of crisis.
Though not a true moderate like Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Alexander's brand of politics contrast sharply with those of Trump and younger, more conservative Republicans that have won election in recent years. Alexander supported the 2013 bipartisan, comprehensive immigration bill that Trump loathes and also declined to sign a 2015 letter to Iranian leaders undercutting President Barack Obama‘s efforts to reach a nuclear deal. He also left the party leadership in 2011 so that he could pursue more bipartisan legislating.
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12m12 minutes ago
Trump wanted Lamar! to run for reelect, I’m told. A source familiar says that Trump called Lamar Alexander yesterday and urged him to run for re-election. Alexander announced today he would retire and not run in 2020
“If everyone fought for their own convictions there would be no war.”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace
He's 78. That's reason enough to quit (would be 80 at time of election). There are just too many who hang on too long in both houses of Congress. The perks and power must be a strong aphrodisiac. There's a lot to be said for institutional memory, but it doesn't have to be 50-60 years in Congress.
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." -- Thomas Paine