Gov. Haslam giving Senate bid ‘serious consideration’
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Republican Gov. Bill Haslam says he will give a U.S. Senate bid “serious consideration” after GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander announced he wouldn’t run again in 2020.
Haslam also told the Chattanooga Times Free Press on Monday that he will have a better answer in coming days about a possible bid. He says that for now, it’s a great time to honor Alexander.
Alexander announced in a news release Monday that he’s deeply grateful at having been elected to serve more combined years as governor and senator than anyone else in Tennessee. But he says now is the time for someone else to have that privilege. He will serve out his final two years.
Other possible GOP Senate candidates include U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty and U.S. Rep.-elect Mark Green.
The state also unveiled the official portrait of Gov. Haslam on Monday during a ceremony that made the term-limited Republican emotional at times.
Haslam was surrounded by former and current administration figures, family and others close to him during Monday’s event. He became choked up when he talked about his family and others who helped him along the way as governor.
Alexander and Deputy to the Governor Jim Henry praised Haslam during opening remarks. Alexander, a former governor, said that only portraits of the last eight governors hang in the main Capitol corridor, and others are sent to storage. He joked that Haslam outranks the rest now, but eventually all governors go into storage.
Haslam will be succeeded by Republican Gov.-elect Bill Lee, whose inauguration is Jan. 19.