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
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
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
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
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.