Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) won’t seek re-election in 2020, he announced Monday.
Alexander was first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2002 and is currently serving his third term. He was previously a two-term governor, president of the University of Tennessee and U.S. Secretary of Education. He unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for president in 1996 and 2000.
“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,” he said in a press release. “I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege,” he continued.
The senator’s retirement means that Tennessee will hold its second open U.S. Senate race in two years. This year, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN, 7th) defeated former governor Phil Bredesen (D) in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).
Candidates in the 2020 election could include outgoing Gov. Bill Haslam (R), who declined to run for Corker’s seat this year but would have state-wide support and recognition. Other potential contenders include Rep.-elect Mark Green (R-TN, 7th), Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN, 3rd), former Rep. Stephen Fincher (R) and outgoing Rep. Diane Black (R-TN, 6th).