Kevin Procter / USA Today Network – Tennessee
WASHINGTON — Tennessee’s next U.S. Senate race is next year, when Republican Bob Corker is expected to run for a third term.
But the political contest that has people talking will come two years later, when the state’s senior senator, Republican Lamar Alexander, is up for re-election.
Is Alexander ready to retire?
The political prognosticators think he is. The news website Politico reported a few weeks ago Alexander has told GOP insiders he has decided not to run for a fourth term in 2020. Stirring the pot further, the report speculated that legendary quarterback Peyton Manning might run for Alexander’s seat.
But in a recent interview with the USA Today Network-Tennessee, Alexander insisted he has made no decision about his political future.
“Everybody likes Peyton Manning, including me,” the senator said, chuckling, from his Senate office just across the street from the Capitol.
One of the advantages of a six-year Senate term is you don’t have to worry every two years about whether you’re going to run for re-election, Alexander said.
So with the election still three years away, “I’m focusing on reauthorizing higher education, fixing the health-care system for all of the Tennesseans who are about to be left in the lurch without insurance, and I’m not thinking about that (race),” Alexander said.
“I’m doing all of the things a person would normally do to be in a position” to run again, Alexander said. “But I have…