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Lamar Alexander

Political Figure

Born: 3 July 1940
Birthplace: Maryville, Tennessee
Best known as: The plaid-shirt candidate

Name at birth: Andrew Lamar Alexander

A former Richard Nixon staffer and University of Tennessee president, Lamar Alexander served as Tennessee governor (1979-87) and then as Secretary of Education (1991-93) under President George Bush. In 1996 he ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination, losing to eventual GOP candidate Bob Dole. In 1999 Alexander announced his candidacy for the presidency in the 2000 election, but dropped out of the race in August of 1999. (The GOP nomination was won by Bush's son, George W. Bush, who defeated Alexander's fellow Tennessean Al Gore to become president.) For many years Alexander's campaign signature has been a red and black plaid lumberjack-style shirt. During his 1978 campaign for governor he walked across the entire state of Tennessee while wearing such a shirt, establishing himself as a populist politician.

Extra credit: Alexander is an accomplished pianist who once played at the Grand Ol' Opry.

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