With Tennessee U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander retiring from office in 2020, it sets up a big question for Governor Bill Haslam, whose two-terms are up on Jan. 19. Will he run for the seat?
In an interview this week, the Governor maintained he’ll give it “serious thought” once his time is up on Tennessee’s Capitol Hill.
This is the second time in the last year and a half that Governor Haslam has considered a U.S. Senate run.
“Last time, I pretty quickly decided and knew it’s not what I wanted to do,” said the Governor. “Mainly because I knew this last year of being Governor would be taken up by running for Senate.”
Bob Corker probably gave the Governor that advice in 2017, when the Senator said he would not run for re-election in 2018, But it’s different this time for Haslam with Sen. Alexander’s seat opening.
“We will take a little break and that will give us a little chance to kind of separate from here, take a breath, but actually have some real time to think about all the pros and cons,” said Governor Haslam.
He was asked if he would really want to be a Senator after running things as Governor for 8 years and as Knoxville Mayor before that.
“You’re just one of 100 people shaping policy for 330 million people in the Senate,” added Mr. Haslam. “I think it’s an important time in our country, so you can’t just say ‘I have been a Governor and I don’t want to be part of a legislative body.’ I think you need to think about overall impact, and I think for us the question is what is the best way to use the next decade of your life. I don’t know the answer to that yet.”
Governor Haslam says there is “no exact timetable” for the Senate decision but indicated “it won’t be six months down the road.”
He maintains it’s likely to be in the month or so after leaving office.