Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander announced today that he will retire at the end of the 116th Congress, creating the first open seat of the 2020 election cycle. Alexander was elected to the seat in 2002 after serving two terms as Governor and a stint as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education under late President George H.W. Bush. Alexander’s retirement likely doesn’t present Democrats with any real opportunities for a pick up. Although Democrats produced a very strong candidate in former Gov. Phil Bredesen to run for the open seat in 2018, he lost the contest to GOP U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn by 11 points, 44 percent to 55 percent, despite keeping the contest close through much of 2018. Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court appears have been the tipping point in the race as President Trump’s base became engaged. Although Bredesen indicated that he would have voted for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, Republican voters didn’t seem willing to take a chance. There are no obvious front-runners on either side of the aisle. The Democratic bench is pretty thin,

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