Sometimes it isn't what you say, it is what you don't say. Case in point, Tennessee's senior U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.
Saturday, the Alexander team announced that Rep. Jimmy Duncan of Knoxville will chair his re-election bid to the U.S. Senate and that the "Honorary Co-chairs" are Gov. Bill Haslam, Sen. Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell and Congressmen Marsha Blackburn, Phil Roe, Diane Black, Stephen Fincher and Chuck Fleischmann.
Notice anyone missing? Yes, that would be embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais.
Asked about the omission, an aide to Alexander stated, "Both agreed it would be a distraction."
What the rest of the list means is that Alexander will face no significant challenge from within his party this election cycle and is likely to face no real challenge from a Democratic candidate.
Democrats would like to have seen a bruising primary that exposed fault lines between moderate and conservative Republicans. Not this race, not this cycle.
Regarding his appointment as chair of the campaign, Duncan in a prepared statement said, “Lamar is a good Republican and good conservative who stands up for Tennesseans. We know and trust him to do what needs to be done.”
Alexander will be seeking his third six-year term in the U.S. Senate. His colleagues have elected him three times as chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, a position he recently stepped down from in a move regarded by many as an effort to be more independent within the confines of the GOP caucus.
In the next Congress convening next year, he will be the senior Republican on committees concerning education, health and energy appropriations.