Alexander to resign from GOP leadership position

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Tennessee GOP Senator Lamar Alexander will step down from his position as Senate Republican Conference chairman in January, according to a press release.

The senator’s announcement has come as a shock to those expecting him to run for the No. 2 position in the GOP conference in 2013 once Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) retires as the Republican whip.

Resigning will free Alexander to pursue other types of leadership within the Senate, the senator said.

“Stepping down from leadership will liberate me to spend more time working for results on the issues I care most about,” he said in a letter to his Republican Senate colleagues.

“I want to do more to make the Senate a more effective institution so that it can deal better with serious issues. There are different ways to provide leadership within the Senate. After nine years here, this is how I believe I can now make my greatest contribution. For these same reasons I do not plan to seek a leadership position in the next congress.”

Alexander still plans to run for reelection in 2014.