Rep. Joe Carr Announces Primary Challenge of Sen. Lamar Alexander

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State Rep. Joe Carr will challenge U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in next year's Republican primary.

Carr had been a candidate in the 4th Congressional District, where he was challenging U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, along with state Sen. Jim Tracy. But he appeared on Ralph Bristol's talk show on 99.7 WTN Tuesday morning to announce that he was switching lanes. Carr said that conservative money-men Lee Beaman and Andy Miller — who had initially encouraged him to run for Congress — had begun to urge him to take a run at Alexander, who has become a Tea Party target, particularly after his vote for the Senate's "comprehensive immigration reform" bill. At the time, Carr said, he told his cheerleaders that's not where he was "being led."

But that changed. Click through the jump for Carr's initial statement in its entirety, concluding with the announcement:

“Since that time I have travelled the 4th Congressional District," Carr said. "I have been to Washington. We’ve raised well over $300,000 and the outpouring of support for our congressional bid has been quite honestly unbelievable. And all the internal data from the district points to the fact that it was a very competitive race indeed. We were in a unique and very genuine position to win that race. But as I travelled the district, I always got two questions. The first question, Ralph, was ‘What can we do to help?’ And the second question inevitably was, ‘Will you change your mind and run against Lamar?’ And in the last two or three weeks, the number of emails, calls and messages I have received — literally hundreds — have said ‘Will you please run against Lamar?’ And so today, on your show, I am announcing that I am officially a candidate for the United States Senate against Lamar Alexander.”

So, why make such a big announcement on a radio show, Bristol asked. He added that he wasn't fishing for a compliment — but he caught one anyway! Carr responded:

“You have been a vocal proponent of conservative principles in Middle Tennessee," he said. "You’ve led on vetting candidates on principles and ideas and issues that go toward restoring the greatness of this country. And this country is surely great. And Tennessee leads in that regard. Tennessee has a long and storied history of leading the nation when it comes to, if it’s right, we’re going to be the first to fight. Whether it’s the battle of New Orleans with Andrew Jackson, or the Alamo with Davy Crockett and Sam Houston, we have that history. So this is a platform that I chose to discuss with your listeners, because your listeners are Joe Carr voters, Joe Carr supporters, people we identify with if we’re going to turn this country around and I think Tennessee can do that.”

(An aside, here, about Ralph Bristol: He's the guy who lobbed softballs at, Carr's former opponent, DesJarlais helping him out as he tried to play the victim in the wake of revelations about his mistresses and their abortions.)

To close out the segment, Bristol asked Carr about a new poll that shows the Senior Senator down five points to a "credible conservative candidate." Bristol said he had spoken to Vanderbilt political science professor John Geer, who told him that the poll had little significance since Lamar's lead would return the moment the words "credible conservative" were replaced with an actual name. But Carr said not so fast. The word "credible," he said, was well-chosen to describe the type conservative that makes Lamar truly vulnerable.

“The bottom line is, if Lamar is with Barack Hussein Obama 62 percent of the time, he’s voting against Tennesseans 62 percent of the time," said Joseph Cordell Carr Sr. "And that’s the disconnect.”

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