Dem Challenger To Alexander Opts Not To Run Against Him

It’s been a good two days for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.).

Fresh off comfortably winning a GOP leadership contest to become the next Republican Conference Chairman, he also finds that a leading Democratic challenger for his Senate seat decided not to run against him.

Former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Bob Tuke, a Nashville attorney, announced Wednesday night that he will not run for Alexander’s seat.

"My decision not to run is based on personal, professional and community obligations I feel I must fulfill in 2008. I look forward to assisting whoever our candidate may be in defeating a senator who seems to have forgotten the interests of those who elected him,” Tuke said in a statement.

No other Democrats have yet declared they will be running against him.

A first-term senator, Alexander comfortably won the seat with 54 percent of the vote in 2002 over then-Democratic Rep. Bob Clement. The state gave President Bush 57 percent of the vote in the 2004 presidential election.

Alexander spokesman Jeremy Harrell responded in a statement that the senator is still preparing for a hard-fought general election campaign.

“We’ve been preparing for more than a year for a campaign next year and look forward to continuing to represent all Tennesseans — Democrats and independents as well as Republicans,” Harrell said in a statement. “But we won’t take anything for granted until Election Day.”