PHOTO: Bill Haslam Saturday night speaking during the Governor’s Inaugural Ball in Nashville / Photo by Alexander Willis
BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Following Governor Bill Lee’s inauguration on Saturday, Bill Haslam announced that he was considering a run for United States Senate, and that he may make his final decision public as soon as March of this year.
“I’m thinking about the senate seat, but I really have not made up my mind,” Haslam said, when asked what was in store for him next. “We’re going to take a step back, think about it, get a breath, pray about it, then decide sometime not too far down the road.”
When asked if he would remain involved in some of the initiatives he had helped start as governor, Haslam said he would continue to remain active in things like foster care and access to higher education, but that he would mostly leave the reins to the newly elected governor, Bill Lee.
“There’s some things that Crissy and I are always going to care about; a lot of the education issues, access to higher education, and then Crissy’s been real involved in all the foster care programs,” Haslam said. “Our predecessors were really great at observing the ‘one governor at a time’ rule, and we’re going to observe that too. But on things that we care about, we’re going to try to see if we can be of help.”
The two senators from Tennessee are newly-elected Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, and Lamar Alexander, who has served in the senate seat since 2003. In December, Lamar announced that he would not seek reelection in 2020, leaving the seat up for grabs.
Born in Knoxville, Haslam was elected governor of Tennessee in 2011, following Phil Bredesen’s two terms from 2003 to 2011. Haslam also served as the mayor of Knoxville from 2003 to 2011, winning 87 percent of the vote on his second run. In 2015, Haslam was found to have an estimate net worth of $2 billion, making him the single richest U.S. elected official at that time.