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Carr or Lamar? Mindblowing Upset or Run-of-the-Mill Blowout?

Just hours before election day the GOP primary contest between incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Tea-Party-backed state Rep. Joe Carr is still a tough call. Both candidates claim the winds of momentum are blowing in their favor, and there’s fair reason to conclude at this late hour that anything can still happen.

Although a poll released last week by the Alexander campaign showed the longtime politician besting his closest opponent by more than two-to-one, Carr contended at a “Beat Lamar” rally in East Ridge over the weekend that the race is “very, very, very close.”

According to Carr, he’s recently been contacted by four members of the Tennessee General Assembly working on his behalf, who have all told him that from what they’ve seen, he’s winning, and that “two out of three voters” are in his corner.

Carr, a three-term Republican state representative from Lascassas, is challenging the political powerhouse of Alexander, a two-term U.S. Senator, former Tennessee governor, former U.S. Department of Education secretary and two-time candidate for president.

Both campaigns have touted their recent endorsements as evidence of their conservative credentials, as well as their penchant for getting things done.

Carr has recently picked up the endorsements from national Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin. Conservative commentator and radio host Laura Ingraham and has long had the support of the Beat Lamar PAC.

Alexander’s endorsements run deep. He was backed recently by two former chairmen of the American Conservative Union — Al Cardenas and David Keene. Keene is also a former president of the National Rifle Association.  Additionally, Alexander has been supported by many Republican leaders in the state, such as Gov. Bill Haslam and former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson.

In his criticism of Alexander, Carr has done his best to tie the incumbent to the policies of the Obama administration, such as Obamacare and immigration reform.

Much of Carr’s attack on his opponent’s Conservative credentials focused on Alexander’s support of what all seven Republican members of Tennessee’s congressional delegation called “amnesty.”

Alexander has defended his vote for the legislation, arguing that voting against the bill was really a vote for amnesty.

Meanwhile, although campaigning for a third term, Alexander has paid little attention to Carr, other than one mailer sent out in Middle Tennessee — Carr’s own turf — criticizing the state-level politician over a vote for Common Core in relation to the state applying for “Race to the Top” funds.

Carr has said that he was not proud of having made that vote, and in a interview with The Murfreesboro Post last year characterized it as “a choice between a really bad vote and a really bad vote.”

And, although Alexander has been a recent vocal critic of the Obama Administration’s handling of the immigration crisis, according to The Washington Post, Alexander said that he hasn’t heard much talk about immigration from his constituency.

“We have a chance to have a Republican majority in the United State Senate. I’d like to be a part of that majority, send a message to President Obama, fix the debt, fix our borders, return education decisions back to the states and replace Obamacare,” Alexander said to reporters Wednesday, at a campaign event in Chattanooga with Haslam and Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.

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Press Releases

Carr Picks Up Palin Endorsement

Press release from the Campaign for Joe Carr for U.S. Senate; July 23, 2014:

Nashville, TN – Former Republican Vice Presidential nominee and Governor Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) released the following statement on her Facebook page announcing her endorsement of TN State. Rep. Joe Carr for United States Senate:

“Thank you, Lamar Alexander, for the respect and integrity you’ve shown in your many years of public service in Washington. With the new challenges in D.C., the time has come for new leaders who are willing to stand up to the political establishments and the Obama administration and say, “no mas!” Unfortunately, advocating and voting for amnesty, cash for clunkers, bailouts, raising the debt ceiling, and many controversial Obama administration nominees has marred the incumbent’s record. It’s time for a change.

“Joe Carr is the new voice Tennessee needs in the U.S. Senate! Joe is a citizen legislator who brings his small business experience to bear in the Tennessee General Assembly. He’s stood up to those in his own party, fighting to enact some of the toughest illegal immigration legislation in the country and working to make Tennessee the 4th most business friendly state in the nation. Joe knows that government is most often the problem, not the solution, and he will work to reduce the size of our federal bureaucracy and always use the Constitution as his guide.

“It’s a disappointment that after so many years in office Senator Alexander has refused to debate Joe Carr in this campaign. Really, it’s pretty unbelievable because the good people of Tennessee deserve to hear from both these candidates to know who will be on their side and who will choose the Washington status quo.

“The conservative grassroots patriots in Tennessee have clearly spoken. When I visited there earlier this month, I was impressed by all the energy and momentum behind Joe Carr. Please join me in supporting him as the Volunteer State’s next Senator!”

Carr released the following statement thanking Gov. Palin for her support:

“A few weeks ago, as the campaign was gaining momentum, I asked Gov. Palin if she’d be willing to support my campaign against a well-entrenched, well-known member of the Washington establishment. Today, I am deeply humbled and honored that a conservative leader like Gov. Palin, who has played such a monumental role in shaping today’s conservative movement, has responded to my request for her help in this campaign against a broken status-quo that puts the interests of 11 million illegal immigrants ahead of Tennessee’s worker’s.

“Gov. Palin is right – the people of Tennessee deserve a vigorous and robust debate but Lamar Alexander believes everyone in Tennessee watches C-SPAN all-day hoping to catch a glimpse of him talking on the Senate floor. The people here deserve better – they deserve to know why Lamar Alexander voted for amnesty, approved Barack Obama’s hand-picked nominee to implement ObamaCare, where he stands on raising the gas tax and why he won’t publicly oppose Common Core.