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State Rep. Joe Carr likely to announce tea party challenge to Sen. Lamar Alexander

7:24 PM, Aug 19, 2013   |    comments
State Rep. Joe Carr
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By Joey Garrison / The Tennessean

Is state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, the tea party candidate revving up to challenge U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in next year's Republican primary?

It appears that way.

Conservative talk show host Ralph Bristol of 99.7 WTN teased media on Monday about an upcoming announcement from a guest on his show Tuesday morning at around 7:05 a.m. that would "significantly alter the 2014 political landscape."

Meanwhile, Carr's campaign spokesman Justin Wax later confirmed to The Tennessean that the state representative would be appearing on the program at that same time.

Many observers are speculating the appearance will mark the coming-out-party for a long-awaited tea party candidate to challenge the 73-year-old Alexander, who has become a target of those from the far right.

All observers on Monday pointed to Carr.

Carr, who has been campaigning for the Republican primary against state Rep. Scott Desjarlais but struggling to raise enough money, on Monday issued a press release of his own that alluded to a significant announcement his campaign would be making later Tuesday morning in Murfeesboro.

Carr didn't responded to numerous messages left by The Tennessean.

Organizers of the radio show would only confirm that Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and former Williamson County chairman Kevin Kookogey wouldn't be on the radio show tomorrow.

Both have been speculated as possible Alexander challengers.

Carr, a fierce advocate of the Second Amendment and frequent sponsor of bill that have irritated immigrant advocates, was elected to his House seat in 2008.

In order to enter the U.S. Senate primary, he would need to exit a different race:

Carr is currently running against the embattled DesJarlais for the GOP nomination in the state's 4th congressional district. But keeping up with state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, another challenger, has proven difficult.

Carr raised $100,225 during the most recent financial quarter compard to $296,393 for Tracy. Meanwhile Tracy's cash-on-hand tally is $656,201, more than double Carr's $275,000.

If Carr does challenge Alexander, it is unclear whether all tea party activists in Tennessee will rally around him.

Numerous tea party organizations had already arranged a series of upcoming "vetting" sessions, beginning in August, in which they were to find their consensus tea party pick.

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