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U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander's campaign claims he holds a 4-to-1 edge over state Rep. Joe Carr in the Republican senate primary.

According to a polling memo released today, 56 percent of likely Republican primary voters told pollsters that they would vote this August for Alexander, the Maryville Republican seeking a third term. Fourteen percent said they would vote for Carr, R-Lascassas.

The other six candidates in the race polled at 2 percent or less. Twenty-two percent were undecided.

The poll was conducted for the Alexander campaign by North Star Opinion Research from May 12-14, 2014. The firm contacted 600 likely Republican primary voters by phone, including cell phones, using live interviewers. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

"This campaign looks essentially the same today as it did in August of 2013 and February of this year," North Star president Whit Ayres wrote. "Senator Alexander remains in a very strong position to win the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate."

Donald Rickard, Carr's campaign manager, said the release suggests Alexander is worried about the threat from conservatives, referencing the victory of tea party-backed candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska this week.

"Why else would he release numbers this early?" Rickard said in an email. "As this campaign unfolds and Joe invests in informing Tennessee voters about Sen. Alexander's support for Common Core, the bail-out of Wall Street and amnesty -- the environment surrounding this race will shift significantly."

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