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Alexander Hasn’t Won Carr Over

Incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander came away from the Republican primary in August with a comfortable margin separating him from state Rep. Joe Carr, the challenger who received the second-most votes in the race.

Carr only captured 40.6 percent of the vote, and in a field of mostly unknown challengers — five others besides Carr — Alexander took the nomination with 49.65 percent.

But Alexander’s 331,705 vote total constituted just under half the total 668,039 cast — meaning more GOP primary voters favored someone other than Alexander than were for him.

Only 240,949 votes were cast in the Democratic primary, which was won by Gordon Ball, a Knoxville trial lawyer attorney whom Alexander paints as an ally of the Obama administration and various liberal special-interest groups that traditionally align with the Democratic Party.

Alexander is running a campaign that centers on convincing Tennessee general election voters he’ll be a dependable vote against Barack Obama’s agenda during the president’s last two years in the White House.

But Alexander has yet to win over his highest-profile critic in the Republican Party. Carr told TNReport he’s not ready to endorse Alexander — and likely won’t until the incumbent Republican comes out strongly against Common Core and promises to fight “amnesty” for undocumented immigrants.

“It’s not up to me. It’s up to Sen. Alexander,” Carr said, adding that he’s had no communication with Alexander personally since the two met at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Rutherford County earlier this month. At that meeting, Carr said they talked about issues and he accepted Alexander’s apology for not taking Carr’s primary election-night phone calls to congratulate him on winning.

The ball’s in his court,” Carr said.

As for Alexander promising to earn a reputation as an impediment to Obama’s policies and programs going forward,  Carr told TNReport he has “no idea” what the campaign or the state Republican Party are talking about in that regard.

I will be as excited and intrigued as every other voter in Tennessee to see this strange turn of events,” said Carr, whose principle primary campaign theme was that Alexander’s been more friend than foe to Obama these last six years. 

Carr pointed to Alexander’s backing of various Obama administration initiatives and appointments as evidence he’s never really applied himself consistently or wholeheartedly to thwarting the president’s will.

The announcement last week that Attorney General Eric Holder is stepping down offered a prime example of how Alexander has often tended to earnestly award his trust to President Obama — even to the point of siding with liberal Democrats and against conservative Republicans — only to claim he regrets it later.

Alexander, who was one of 18 Republicans who joined with 55 Senate Democratic to confirm Holder in 2009, said in a statement that when it comes time for the president to pick Holder’s replacement, he hopes Obama “will nominate an attorney general this time who will faithfully apply the laws Congress has passed and not seek to impose policies the president wishes Congress had passed. The role of the top law enforcement officer in the country is to enforce the law—not to advance the president’s agenda.”

It should have been clear to Alexander during the confirmation process — and indeed it was to 21 other Republicans in the U.S. Senate — that Holder was going to be a problematic figure among conservatives, Carr suggested. Holder’s political aims, his ambitions and his performance as attorney general could have been “easily predicted and forecast by his past behaviors when he was in the Clinton administration,” Carr said.

In a strategy similar to Carr’s, Ball has pointed to Alexander’s Senate voting record as a defense against TNGOP claims that a vote for him will be a vote for Obama.

Ball is pushing Alexander to debate — a challenge Alexander has thus far dodged. Similarly, Alexander refused to share a debate stage with Carr during the GOP primary campaign.

Ball has said Alexander is doing Tennesseans a “disservice” by depriving them of a chance to see the candidates for such a powerful elected office challenge each other on matters of great national importance.

TNGOP: Ball Making Excuses ‘Reminiscent of a 6th Grader’

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; September 23, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—While personal injury lawyer and Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Gordon Ball claims he never received a National Rifle Association survey, the NRA points out that’s just not true. The Second Amendment rights organization explained to the Memphis Commercial Appeal the NRA sent the survey to Ball as they do for all candidates.

From the CA report:

NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said the organization mailed its survey to Ball at the Knoxville address listed on his candidate registration form. ‘He never returned the questionnaire. We changed his grade from a question mark to an ‘F’ based on an interview he did. Bottom line is he’s anti-gun, and we’ll make sure every gun owner in Tennessee knows it.’

In response to Gordon Ball’s lame attempt at crafting an excuse reminiscent of a 6th grader, Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney stated, “Gordon Ball blaming the NRA for his own dismal record and F-rating on Second Amendment rights may be the most transparent evidence yet of how far this slick personal injury lawyer will go to distract Tennesseans from the fact that he’d be one more vote for Barack Obama’s anti-gun agenda. The NRA says it sent Ball its questionnaire. Ball should be forthright with Tennesseans about how he earned his F, instead of claiming that the dog ate his homework.”

Background

TNGOP: Union Push for Ball More Proof He’s On Board with the ‘Obama Agenda’

Press release from the Tennessee Republican Party; September 19, 2014:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.—An extensive ground game and targeting Senator Lamar Alexander. That’s the roadmap for unions in the upcoming November election.

Last night, on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show,” two union bosses highlighted their plans to push Democrats to the polls in the fall.

Leo Gerard, of the steelworkers union, and Larry Cohen, of the communications union, made the comments in response to the host’s question about what unions plan to do. In particular, Cohen discussed making Senator Alexander — who would be chairman of the Senate labor committee in a new Republican Senate majority — the “poster-child” against their efforts because of his strong anti-union stances in the U.S. Senate and defense of Tennessee’s right-to-work laws.

The TNGOP captured the conversation here.

With the news today of his “F-rating” on the 2nd Amendment from the National Rifle Association, Tennessee Democrats’ nominee for the Senate, liberal personal injury lawyer Gordon Ball, is going to need the help from unions in his attempt to defeat Senator Alexander. The AFL-CIO has already endorsed Ball, and now it’s clear union bosses plan to make Lamar Alexander a target this fall.

Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney stated, “Liberals are already starting to circle the wagons—in Tennessee and beyond. They know Senator Alexander is going to be a leader in the new Republican Senate majority and they’re desperate to get their base engaged. Unfortunately for Gordon Ball, this information just proves once more he’d be a vote for the Obama agenda in Washington.”

Background

Ball: Never Been Contacted by NRA, ‘F’ Rating a ‘Hit Piece’

Press release from the Gordon Ball for U.S. Senate Campaign; September 19, 2014:

U.S. Senate Candidate Gordon Ball’s Statement On NRA F Rating

“This comes as no surprise to me as Sen. Lamar Alexander has received NRA money for years,” U.S. Senate Candidate Gordon Ball said today. “The NRA never contacted me, never asked me to fill out a questionnaire and this is obviously a hit piece. I’m a gun owner and strongly support the Second Amendment. I just happen to have a D in front of my name on the ballot.”

“Let me be clear, the NRA didn’t even ask me that question, they went to an online piece on KnoxViews and decided to give me a score for their pal Lamar,” Ball added. “According to the Sunlight Foundation, he is second with Mitch McConnell in receiving contributions from the National Rifle Association.”

“Obviously the senator from Tennessee is taking this race seriously if he is asking favors from all his connections in Washington. If he wants to discuss these issues, let’s debate and not just go to a breakfast forum scheduled for the second day of early voting.” Ball concluded.

Lamar Picks Up Endorsements from 2 Fmr. Chairs of the ACU

Press release from the Campaign for Lamar Alexander for U.S. Senate; July 28, 2014:

Al Cardenas joins former ACU chairman and NRA president David Keene; calls Alexander “ultimate conservative problem solver”

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander’s campaign today announced that Al Cardenas, the most recent former chairman of the American Conservative Union, has joined former chairman David Keene in endorsing Alexander for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

In a statement, Cardenas said, “Lamar Alexander is the ultimate conservative problem solver. He not only relies on conservative principles, but also on a proven ability to find solutions — a combination that is all too rare in our country today.”

The American Conservative Union is the country’s largest and longest-running conservative organization, and serves as the umbrella for numerous other conservative grassroots organizations. David Keene, who served as chairman of the ACU from 1984-2001 and is a former president of the National Rifle Association, previously endorsed Alexander and appeared in Nashville on Alexander’s behalf.

Keene said of Alexander, “If I were making a scorecard for Sen. Alexander, I would start with his ‘A’ rating from the NRA, his 100 percent rating with National Right to Life, and his 100 percent rating with the United States Chamber of Commerce.”

Alexander said, “Al Cardenas and David Keene are two of our country’s greatest champions of conservative values. I am grateful for their endorsements, along with the support I have received from grassroots Tennesseans and other national conservative leaders. As senator, I will fight to bring to Washington the principles of low taxes, balanced budgets and job growth that I helped to establish in Tennessee.”

The Alexander campaign is chaired by Congressman Jimmy Duncan, with co-chairmen Governor Bill Haslam, U.S. Senator Bob Corker, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, Speaker Beth Harwell, as well as Congressmen Blackburn, Roe, Black, Fincher, and Fleischmann.

The campaign’s Honorary Co-Chairmen include former U.S. Senators Howard Baker (1925-2014), Bill Brock, Bill Frist and Fred Thompson, as well as former Governors Winfield Dunn and Don Sundquist.

Serving as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Statewide Committee to Elect Lamar Alexander are all 13 living former state Republican Party chairs.

Maggart: 2nd Amendment, Property Rights Equally Important

Statement from State Rep. Debra Maggart, R-Hendersonville; July 23, 2012: 

See WWW.DEFENDMAGGART.COM for an important message from Debra.

Friends,

Over the past few months, a national second amendment rights group, an organization of which I am a lifetime member, has begun a negative campaign against me in the name of the Second Amendment and my opponent.

This attack against me is based on false information in an effort to bully your elected officials and trample your other Constitutional rights.

During this past General Assembly, a bill came before us related to individuals being able to store their gun in their car. I have a 100% voting record on the Second Amendment and support this idea. There were several problems with this bill and we reached out to this group to try to work the kinks out.

My main concern was that this bill as introduced would have mandated what individuals, not just businesses, must do or allow with their property. I hear complaints every day about Federal Government mandates, yet one was almost forced on you by the state if this group would have gotten their way.

Since this group was not willing to work with us, we suggested that we study the legislation over the summer to see how we could make this a better bill for all Tennesseans. Most Members of the General Assembly would like a bill that respects property rights as well as second amendment rights, as both of these are equally important. Let me be clear. I did not vote against this bill, contrary to what you have been told. You can see for yourself by going to www.capitol.tn.gov and looking at the vote for this piece of legislation.

As a member of House Leadership, blame has been placed at my feet for an attempt at thoughtful governing. We are sent to Nashville to represent you. It is my aim to protect all of your rights, not just the one that this second amendment rights group is promoting.

I hope you will contact me if you have specific questions about this matter that I can resolve. Now that you know the truth, I would appreciate your vote.

Debra