Former gubernatorial candidate Randy Boyd will not run for retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander’s seat because he is serving as interim president of the University of Tennessee system for a two-year period, the Chattanooga Times Free Press said Tuesday.
Boyd finished in second place to Gov.-elect Bill Lee in the August Republican primary after spending an estimated $20 million on his campaign. Had he chosen to run for the U.S. Senate in 2020 to succeed Alexander, he would have been a first tier candidate, despite his primary loss.
According to the Times Free Press:
“It just seems so far removed from the state of Tennessee, I couldn’t see myself in Washington, D.C., arguing about things and not getting as in depth,” he said.
Having only 24 months or less to tackle his goals adds to that sense of urgency, he said.
Alexander (R-TN) on Monday said he would not run for a fourth term in 2020.
Tennessee Star Political Editor Steve Gill said, “Lamar just gave political consultants and media buyers an early Christmas gift as he just kick-started the 2020 campaign for his open Senate seat.”
The University of Tennessee Board of Trustees on Sept. 25 appointed Boyd as interim president to succeed Joe DiPietro, who retired in November.
- Boyd plans to launch a search for the next chancellor for the Knoxville campus. He will search for a new system president in 2020.
- Boyd will focus on improving graduation rates.
- Boyd plans for all UT campuses to expand their engagement with Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
- He will bring greater visibility to programs across all 95 Tennessee counties.
- Boyd plans to work across the UT system to create a culture of collaboration.
- Build the UT brand.
Toward that end, on Monday Boyd announced the formation of a task force to clarify the responsibilities between the UT administrative system and each of the campuses and institutes. The system administration handles operations for the campuses to avoid duplication and save money. The task force will study best practices from the private sector as well as the administrative system’s departments.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.