Confirming his plans to seek re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2014, Sen. Lamar Alexander mustered Tennessee's top Republicans behind his candidacy on Saturday to show strong party support and discourage any would-be challengers.
Speaking to the GOP's state Executive Committee in Nashville, the 72-year-old senator revealed 2nd Congressional District Rep. Jimmy Duncan, a noted Conservative, as chairman of his campaign. Names listed by Alexander as honorary co-chairs are a who's who of state Republicans—Gov. Bill Haslam; Sen. Bob Corker; Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey; House Speaker Beth Harwell; and U.S. House Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe, Diane Black, Stephen Fincher and Chuck Fleischmann.
Absent from the list was 4th District Rep. Scott DesJarlais, who continues drawing unwanted attention for having slept with patients and backed abortions for his ex-wife a decade before being elected to Congress as a pro-life, family values supporter.
Although Alexander's top-dog list of supporters will likely thwart a few Republicans who may have been mulling their prospects for the midterm election, the senator's announcement does not guarantee he won't see a challenger emerge within his own party. Tennessee Democrats, tottering back after failing to run a party-backed candidate against Sen. Bob Corker last month, have yet to indicate who any potential challengers to the senator in two years might be.
Alexander, who had previously stated on several occasions that he intended to seek a third term, said in a news release he intended to continue his work in the Senate toward reducing the debt and reviving the economy.
"Our country has serious problems to solve," Alexander said. "We must fix the debt and move more decisions out of Washington. We must find better ways to help Americans move from the back of the line to the front in our struggling economy. It is a great time to stop making speeches and start getting results."
Should he be elected, Alexander would serve his third, six-year term in the Senate.
In his political career, Alexander has also served two terms as governor of Tennessee, held four years as president of the University of Tennessee and worked as U.S. Secretary of Education under President George H.W. Bush.