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(WBIR) U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander kicked off Friday a 35-stop bus tour of Tennessee.

The two-week "Standing up for Tennessee" bus tour began in Maryville, the senator's hometown. Before he left from Sullivan's on W. Broadway Avenue in Maryville at 11:30 a.m., he voted at the Blount County Commission.

Alexander said that the tour was inspired by his political mentor, Howard Baker Jr., who toured the state by train and bus during his re-election campaign.

"I learned from Howard Baker that one of the best ways to finish a campaign is a bus tour across the state," said Alexander in a release. "I work hard every day to stay connected to Tennesseans, and this bus tour is one more way to keep providing Washington with a steady supply of that Tennessee common sense we need so much more of in Congress."

The senator's campaign said Alexander plans to visit all regions of the state.

Six other candidates are running against Alexander in the Republican primary, including state Rep. Joe Carr and Memphis physician George Flinn.

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