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Kookogey says he's 'unannounced candidate' for U.S. Senate

8:19 PM, Sep 2, 2013   |    comments
Kevin Kookogey addresses the media during a press conference for The Tea Party Express Wednesday Aug. 21, 2013, in Nashville, Tenn. / George Walker IV / THE TENNESSEAN / File
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By Joey Garrison / The Tennessean

Former Williamson County Republican Party chairman Kevin Kookogey is calling himself an "unannounced candidate" for U.S. Senate, fueling speculation that Sen. Lamar Alexander is soon likely to get another primary challenger from the right.


That revelation came as Kookogey, who left his post in 2012 and has been mulling a run against Alexander, informed tea party organizers Sunday that he will no longer be taking part in a series of forums designed to identify a consensus challenger to take on Alexander.

The first "Beat Lamar" candidate vetting session took place Saturday in Nashville. Kookogey attended it, but won't be going to others.

An email from Kookogey, posted by Michael Patrick Leahy, co-founder of the political action committee Beat Lamar, suggests he is already considering himself a candidate who hasn't announced yet.

"Thank you for inviting and allowing me to participate in the Beat Lamar forum yesterday in Nashville," Kookogey wrote Leahy, adding that he enjoyed the event.

"As an unannounced candidate, however, I have decided to withdraw from the remainder of the scheduled events, lest my attendance confuse your process."

Kookogey did not say when he would formally announce his candidacy when asked by The Tennessean via email on Monday.

Republican state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas has already ditched his pervious primary run against embattled state Rep. Scott DesJarlais to instead challenge Alexander, a two-term senator who has faced a tide of resistance from the right.

Carr was also at Saturday's forum in Nashville. Both men suggested that before the August 2014 state primary arrives, the candidate struggling to gain momentum would step aside and help the other.

For weeks, Republican insiders have braced for a Kookogey U.S. Senate announcement coming in September.

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