Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander has just revealed that he will not run for re-election to maintain his seat in 2020. If he were to run, it would be for his fourth term. Instead, it seems, the 78-year-old politician has decided that it is time to retire.
The Tennessean notes that Sen. Lamar Alexander was first elected to the Senate in 2002. On Monday, however, he released a statement indicating that he will not be running again in 2020. He said that he is deeply grateful to the people of Tennessee, but noted that it is time for someone else to have the privilege of sitting in his senatorial seat.
Voters in Tennessee just went through replacing their other long-time senator, as Sen. Bob Corker retired rather than run for a third term. Things got rather intense as Republican Marsha Blackburn and Democratic candidate Phil Bredesen faced off over Corker’s seat, but ultimately, Blackburn won rather handily.
What will happen with Alexander’s seat — in what is expected to be an intense battle between the Republicans and the Democrats to grab hold of control of the Senate with the 2020 elections? As FiveThirtyEight notes, there are some avenues of opportunity for the Democrats when it comes to the 2020 Senate map, but the Republicans still have an edge.
In comparison to the 2018 midterms, the GOP will have far more seats they’ll need to fight to maintain. Democrats will already be doing their best to target Colorado and Maine — as Sen. Cory Gardner and Sen. Susan Collins fight what may be tough battles for re-election. There’s also Democratic Sen. Doug Jones, who will need to try to keep his seat in Alabama after a surprising upset in his special election.
Retirements like Alexander’s could add an additional opportunity for the Democrats. The party hasn’t held Tennessee’s Senate seats since the mid-90s, and it’ll take someone special to turn the tide during the upcoming election — if the Democrats want to win.
It’s too early to tell who will run to take over Alexander’s seat from either party, but this is definitely news that will shake things up a bit. There was a mass exodus of Republicans who chose to retire rather than run again heading into the 2018 midterms, and it’ll be interesting to see if Alexander’s announcement starts a wave of retirements for 2020.
Who else will decide to exit Congress rather than fight for reelection in 2020? Will Sen. Lamar Alexander’s decision not to run for re-election cause any interesting shakeups? It may be early to get too serious about the 2020 elections, but the buzz is already intensifying on every level — and everybody will be curious to see what comes next.