Sen. Lamar Alexander said Monday he won’t seek re-election in 2020, in the first big GOP retirement of the new election cycle.
A three-term senator, former Tennessee governor and former Education secretary for the first Bush administration, Mr. Alexander had been a studious voice for Republicans, but said he’s amassed more time as governor and senator than anyone else in state history.
“I am deeply grateful, but now it is time for someone else to have that privilege,” he said.
Mr. Alexander is currently chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, where he’s overseen GOP attempts to tweak or overturn Obamacare.
He also had ill-fated runs for president in 1996 and 2000, with his trademark “Lamar!” posters not enough to gain much traction.
His retirement follows that of Sen. Bob Corker, the state’s other Republican senator, who is giving up his seat at the end of this year.
Mr. Corker, in a statement Monday, called Mr. Alexander the “legislator of the decade” because of his rare ability to work across party lines at a time when the rest of Congress is gridlocked.