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Alexander to step down from GOP leadership

Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander, currently the No. 3 in the GOP's Senate leadership, said he was giving up his leadership post come next January. He will still run for a another term in 2014.

"Stepping down from leadership will liberate me to spend more time working for results on the issues I care most about," Alexander wrote in a letter to his 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. 

He added, "I said to Tennesseans when I first ran for the Senate that I would serve with conservative principles and an independent attitude. I will continue to serve in that same way. I am a very Republican Republican. I intend to be more, not less, in the thick of resolving serious issues. And I plan to run for re-election in 2014."

It's expected that Sen. John Cornyn will run for the No. 2 slot (being vacated by retiring Sen. Jon Kyl); Sen. John Thune will run for the No. 3 slot (being vacated by Alexander); and Sen. John Barrasso announced he'll run for the #4 position (currently held by Thune).