Alexander says he's close to votes needed to win GOP whip

Alexander says he's close to votes needed to win GOP whip

Sen. Lamar Alexander Sen. Lamar Alexander

November 9, 2006

NASHVILLE (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee says he's confident his Republican colleagues will select him to be GOP whip, the party's Number 2 leadership position in the Senate.

The whip counts votes and tries to maintain party unity.

Alexander said he's close to a majority and working on a consensus to win the post now that his closest rival, Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, lost his re-election bid.

For months, Alexander has been meeting with Senate Republicans about the position.

The current whip, Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, is expected to succeed Sen. Bill Frist as GOP leader.

Frist, of Nashville, is leaving at the end of the year to consider a 2008 presidential campaign.

McConnell also has used the leadership job to prioritize projects in Kentucky, something Alexander has said he would try to do, too.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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