Sen. Lamar Alexander says he won't run for re-election in 2020

/ CBS News

Sen. Lamar Alexander, a Tennessee Republican, said Monday that he will not run for re-election 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," the 78-year-old Alexander said in a statement. "I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege."

Alexander has also served as Tennessee's governor, and as education secretary under president George H.W. Bush. He ran for president twice, most notably in 1996, when he finished in third place in the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary. The slogan embroidered on the campaign's shirts, hats and pins was the short, if memorable, "Lamar!"

In 2002, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, and was a member of the chamber's Republican leadership from 2007 to 2012. He is currently the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and is considered a relative moderate within the GOP caucus. He was also consistently popular in Tennessee, winning each of his three elections to the Senate in a landslide.

In his statement, Alexander said he will stay in the senate for the remainder of his term. Tennessee is a reliably Republican state, and former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen lost his Senate bid by more than 10 points in November to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn.

First published on December 17, 2018

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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