Tea party's last chance in 2014 primaries comes down to Tennessee Senate race
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee
August 7th, 2014
08:37 AM ET
1 month ago

Tea party's last chance in 2014 primaries comes down to Tennessee Senate race

(CNN) – The Republican primary in Tennessee on Thursday is the tea party's last chance - albeit a distant one - to beat an establishment incumbent this election year.

Longtime GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander is defending his seat against state Rep. Joe Carr.

Despite picking up endorsements from conservative powerhouse Sarah Palin and the Tea Party Nation, it's an uphill battle for Carr, who trails the two-term senator in the polls.

Not to mention, Alexander handily won his last election with 65% of the vote and has raised significantly more campaign cash.

Carr pegs campaign on immigration

Carr has staked his campaign largely on Alexander's stance on immigration, slamming the two-term senator's vote last year for the Senate's comprehensive immigration reform bill - legislation that ultimately stalled in the House.

Alexander was among 14 GOP senators who voted for the comprehensive bill that Carr contends amounts to amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

The issue of immigration is back into the national spotlight as a surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America are crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, flooding emergency facilities and igniting a debate in Washington over what to do with the latest influx of immigrants.

As Congress and the White House lock horns over the border crisis, Alexander, known as a lawmaker willing to work with Democrats to broker bipartisan deals, recently aligned himself with tea party star and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the issue.

Alexander's campaign hasn't been taking any chances from the beginning, running campaign ads as early as last July before he had any primary challengers.

Carr has also made a push for defunding Obamacare, as well as arguing Alexander is out of step with Tennessee voters.

The state representative was originally planning to challenge Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais in Tennessee's 4th U.S. Congressional District, but dropped his bid in order to take on Alexander.

Tea party wins spark hope for Carr

Carr's campaign received a jolt of enthusiasm after little-known professor David Brat upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this year in Virginia's GOP primary.

Fewer wins this time, but tea party has changed the GOP

Then, longtime Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi was forced into a runoff against tea party challenger Chris McDaniel after initial primary results were too close to call. Cochran narrowly beat McDaniel in the runoff but the challenger's campaign is contesting those results.

"Make no mistake about it - the fight that Chris McDaniel started in Mississippi will continue here in Tennessee," Carr said after the Mississippi runoff.

But unlike McDaniel, polls indicate Carr's the distinct underdog to Alexander. And, aside from the ongoing vote battle in Mississippi and Brat's unexpected victory over Cantor, the establishment wing of the Republican Party has come away from this election cycle relatively unscathed.

Five other lesser known candidates are competing in Thursday's GOP contest in Tennessee, a factor Alexander benefits from as grassroots support is divided behind his leading challenger.

The winner of the Republican primary will go on to face one of four Democrats and a series of third party candidates in November's general election, though the seat is considered a safe bet for Republicans.

CNN's Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2014 • Congress • Lamar Alexander • Senate • Tennessee
soundoff (65 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Tommy G

    Poor, poor lefties are going down big time in November and are desperately trying every trick in the book to stop the same type of massacre that happened in 2010 because of Obamacare.
    ----------------
    Uh, Tommy? Whatever happened to that massacre of 2012? Didn't Republicans lose House seats?

    August 7, 2014 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    ".... ... Yep! That made very little sense. The top 10% pay 70% of income taxes. How much then would be be too much? Income tax is only a fraction of taxes collected so what happens when you over tax income of the rich? ... ..."
    --------–
    You're conveniently overlooking the fact that the top 10% earn more than 70% of all income.
    --------–
    There is definitely some conservative bible-gun-home-school math going on here today.

    August 7, 2014 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. definitely

    Rudy NYC ".... ... Yep! That made very little sense. The top 10% pay 70% of income taxes. How much then would be be too much? Income tax is only afraction of taxes collected so what happens when you over tax income of the rich? ... ..." --------–You're conveniently overlooking the fact that the top 10% earn more than 70% of all income.

    August 7, 2014 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |

    Nope you are completely overlooking 10% of Americans will pay 1.5 trillion of the 2.2 trillion in income in 2014!

    BTW, my last post didn't make through because I called you a DA but this should!

    The "Dixie-crats" was a democratic movement (must be embarrassing for you) that began and ended in 1948.

    "Dixiecrat, also called States’ Rights Democrat, member of a right-wing Democratic splinter group in the 1948 U.S. presidential election organized by Southerners who objected to the civil rights program of the Democratic Party. It met at Birmingham, Ala., and on July 17, 1948, nominated Gov. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina for president and Gov. Fielding L. Wright of Mississippi for vice president. The Dixiecrats, who opposed federal regulations they considered to interfere with states’ rights, carried South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Alabama, to receive 39 electoral votes; their popular vote totalled over 1,000,000.Videos,", E.B.

    August 7, 2014 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  4. rs

    definitely

    salty dog, need help with facts huh! Osama was turned in by a Pakistani doctor, Obama didn't just find him, stock market crashed due to Clinton democrats wanting to give affordable housing to people who could afford them, housing struggling to recover because Obama's refusal to address jobs by pushing socialism and last but not the last obamacare. If you have the best insurance for first time in ten years it is because 145 million working Americans and their families were screwed because of obamacare and are paying a hefty price for it and subsidizing your socialist program.
    ______________________
    Your fact-free theories overlooked space aliens and bigfoot.

    August 7, 2014 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. definitely

    Malory Archer you're joking, right? How does ultra-cons being shown the door and handed a little "also-ran" banner as a consolation prize on the way out while the more moderate candidate wins the nomination translate into "Establishment Republicans view(ing) this as a wake up call to get back to conservative beliefs"?

    Your kidding right!
    You will understand in 2017, be forewarned.

    August 7, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    definitely

    salty dog, need help with facts huh! Osama was turned in by a Pakistani doctor, Obama didn't just find him, stock market crashed due to Clinton democrats wanting to give affordable housing to people who could afford them, housing struggling to recover because Obama's refusal to address jobs by pushing socialism and last but not the last obamacare. If you have the best insurance for first time in ten years it is because 145 million working Americans and their families were screwed because of obamacare and are paying a hefty price for it and subsidizing your socialist program.
    -----------------------------–
    It must be really difficult for some folks to sleep at night. Some others don't need any sleep. They have waking dreams.

    August 7, 2014 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  7. nintex

    @definitely
    salty dog, need help with facts huh! Osama was turned in by a Pakistani doctor, Obama didn't just find him, stock market crashed due to Clinton democrats wanting to give affordable housing to people who could afford them, housing struggling to recover because Obama's refusal to address jobs by pushing socialism and last but not the last obamacare. If you have the best insurance for first time in ten years it is because 145 million working Americans and their families were screwed because of obamacare and are paying a hefty price for it and subsidizing your socialist program.

    Your last comment about 145 million Americans being screwed because of the Affordable Care Act prompted me to respond: my prescription drug cost went up $12 a month. That's a meal at McDonalds – OK, a big meal. Once a month. If that $12 makes it possible for a family with children to qualify for insurance for the first time, or an older person or someone with a previous condition to get affordable insurance, then I am more than happy to pay $12 more a month. I don't consider that "getting screwed." I guess it's all in a person's attitude about others – we gladly share our bounty, or we hoard it and consider everyone else "them" and out to get us.

    August 7, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. definitely

    Silence DoGood . --––There is definitely some conservative bible-gun-home-school math going on here today.

    OK, look it up then post it! I'll wait. While you are looking read the CNBC article: "The rich do not pay the most taxes they pay all the taxes"

    August 7, 2014 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Malory Archer

    definitely
    Malory Archer you're joking, right? How does ultra-cons being shown the door and handed a little "also-ran" banner as a consolation prize on the way out while the more moderate candidate wins the nomination translate into "Establishment Republicans view(ing) this as a wake up call to get back to conservative beliefs"?

    Your kidding right!
    You will understand in 2017, be forewarned.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Didn't your ilk also say that in 2012? How'd that work out for ya?

    August 7, 2014 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. definitely

    Malory Archer

    Didn't work out so well, however, AMERICANS didn't know that had reelected a liar, a foreign policy wuss and a domestic one sided president.

    August 7, 2014 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID

    There are no good republicans UNTIL they change their SICK tax cut AGENDA, for anybody that doubts that, take a look at Kansas where their STUPID TAX CUT AGENDA is bankrupting their poor state. I guess we are supposed to believe the GOP BS that you can reduce taxes and have the SAME services provided by the goverment , no thanks GOP , see you at the polls!!!!

    August 7, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "The "Dixie-crats" was a democratic movement (must be embarrassing for you) that began and ended in 1948."

    Why would it be? That's 66 years ago and the progeny of those people all become the rabid, rapidly radicalized, dyed-in-the-wool Republicans and Teatrolls we're dealing with today. Those apples didn't fall far from the tree...they just changed names What should be embarrassing for you is your failure to recognize that it's a geographic issue, not a partisan issue and the only reason it has taken on the aspect of a partisan issue is because the parties' bases shifted to align with the geography of it.

    August 7, 2014 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Thomas

    Don't Tirade On Me !

    We the Tea , We know that in the the heart of all Americans who love Freedom is a fork ?

    Don't let the socialists take my right to have a grenade launcher in my own home for protection !
    Sarah Palin / Rick Perry 2016
    The Alamo is more then a rental car company !

    August 7, 2014 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Marcus (from...?)

    @ definitely – salty dog, need help with facts huh! Osama was turned in by a Pakistani doctor, Obama didn't just find him, stock market crashed due to Clinton democrats wanting to give affordable housing to people who could afford them, housing struggling to recover because Obama's refusal to address jobs by pushing socialism and last but not the last obamacare. If you have the best insurance for first time in ten years it is because 145 million working Americans and their families were screwed because of obamacare and are paying a hefty price for it and subsidizing your socialist program.

    FAUX NEWS all over, where to start?
    The buck stops with the POTUS whenever he says 'get into that country and get that man now!', especially if they US forces (thanks guys!) that do the job do it WITHOUT the knowledge of the local government. Learn a little about exactly what MEANS to be a sitting POTUS.
    You failed to acknowledge the further ammendments that the law got when the (R) where in charge of both House and Senate.
    The POTUS is the one refusing to do his job regarding bills about jobs? You must be one of the 'one digit %' dudes that praise the House for its 'job'...
    Obamacare is the POTUS legacy, and he's not running from it, is he?

    August 7, 2014 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. definitely

    Name JK. SFL. THE GOP THE NATIONAL JOKE PARTY , WE WONT PASS ANYTHING AND STILLGET PAID There are no good republicans UNTIL they change their SICK tax cut AGENDA, for anybody that doubts that, take a look at Kansas where their STUPID TAX CUT AGENDA is bankrupting their poor state. I guess we are supposed to believe the GOP BS that you can reduce taxes and have the SAME services provided by the goverment , no thanks GOP , see you at the polls!!!!

    August 7, 2014 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |

    "The GOP Solution", man do you need help! No wonder the democrats are so screwed up supporters like you. I know Mallory, Silence DoGood, Rudy NYC and the other liberals are proud of you.

    August 7, 2014 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
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