NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Former Governor Bill Haslam could soon announce his decision about running for U.S. Senate, but if he decides against a bid, at least one top challenger or maybe two have said they are interested in the race.
The issue has become one of Tennessee’s biggest political guessing games since Senator Lamar Alexander announced in December, he would not run in 2020.
Haslam himself originally set earlier this year as a time frame for announcing his own decision about the Senate bid.
“I don’t have a firm date, but it’s not going to be six months from now,“ then-Governor Haslam told News 2 in early January.
Since then, those close to the now former governor say there was no hurry in making a decision, but several have said Haslam was going to wait until this year’s legislative session was over.
In January, Haslam laid out the basic question he and his family had to answer before making a decision.
“For us, what is the best way to use the next decade of your life? said Haslam more than four months ago. “Is that the best way we can be the most helpful?“
If the former governor does not run, other Republicans who have expressed interest include Gallatin native and current U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty and freshman middle Tennessee Congressional member Mark Green.
On the Democratic side, Nashville lawyer and Iraq war veteran James Mackler is the only well-known name to announce a run for the U.S. Senate.
Mackler ran briefly for Senator Bob Corker’s open seat in 2018 before throwing his support behind unsuccessful Democrat nominee Phil Bredesen.