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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.

Press Releases

Ball Announces Own List of ‘Diverse’ Supporters in U.S. Senate Campaign

Press release from the Gordon Ball for U.S. Senate Campaign; August 25, 2014:

The Gordon Ball for Senate Campaign announced today the first round of “Tennesseans For Ball” endorsement which includes a diverse list of Democrats, Republicans and Independents from across the state.

“We have been talking to elected leaders, the business community and concerned Tennesseans who are standing with us in our challenge to take on career politician Sen. Lamar Alexander,” Gordon Ball said “I want to work with all Tennesseans from diverse and various backgrounds to take back our state from corporate interests. We need to help working Tennesseans. Lamar Alexander, if you look at his voting record, has worked against them.”

The list is split across the state and includes former University of Tennessee basketball coach Bruce Pearl, Congressman Jim Cooper, businessman Mark Hazlewood and former Democratic Senate primary opponent, Terry Adams.

  • Terry Adams, Former U.S. Senate Candidate and Knoxville Attorney
  • Joe Armstrong, State Representative
  • Brady Banks, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Megan Barry, Metro/Nashville Councilwoman
  • Murry Bartow, Former East Tennessee State University Head Basketball Coach
  • Rodney Beard, Pastor Living Word Community Church
  • Fabian Bedne, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Bill Blankenship, Architect
  • Melvin Bond, Haywood County Sheriff
  • Ed Brantley, Knox County Commissioner
  • Gary Brewer, Attorney
  • Joe Brown, Memphis City Councilman
  • Frank Cagle, Talk Show Host, Metropulse columnist and retired political analyst
  • Angela Callis, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman-Elect
  • Karen Camper, State Representative
  • Charles Carpenter, Memphis Attorney
  • Bryan Carson, Shelby County Democratic Party Chair
  • Gale Jones Carson, Tennessee Democratic Party Secretary and Member of the DNC
  • Sidney Chism, Shelby County Commissioner
  • Bob Clement, Former U.S. Congressman
  • Barbara Cooper, State Representative
  • Jim Cooper, U.S. Congressman
  • Larry Crim, CEO of Christian Counseling Centers of America
  • Anthony Davis, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Lincoln Davis, Former U.S. Congressman
  • Paige Dennis, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman
  • Dick Eskind, Nashville Businessman
  • Joann Favors, State Representative
  • Billy Fields, Former Davidson County Democratic Party Chair
  • Craig Fitzhugh, State Representative and Democratic House Minority Leader
  • Justin Ford, Shelby County Commissioner
  • Chip Forrester, Former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman
  • Renard Francois, Nashville Businessman
  • Bill Freeman, Nashville Businessman
  • Janis Fullilove, Memphis City Councilwoman
  • Brenda Gilmore, State Representative
  • Wanda Halbert, Memphis City Councilwoman
  • Lee Harris, Memphis City Councilman and Democratic Nominee State Senate District 29
  • Mark Hazlewood, Former President of Pilot Flying J
  • Roy Herron, Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman
  • Walter Hunt, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Tom Jesse, Johnson City Attorney
  • Martavius Jones, Former Memphis School Board Member
  • Sherry Jones, State Representative
  • Myron Lowery, Vice Chairman Memphis City Council
  • Bill Lusk, Mayor of Signal Mountain
  • Sandy Lusk, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman
  • John R. Marek, Memphis Attorney
  • Beverly Marrero, Former State Senator
  • Lonnell Matthews, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Jerry Maynard, Metro/Nashville Councilman
  • Kim McMillan, Mayor of Clarksville
  • Harold Middlebrook, Pastor Canaan Baptist Church
  • Reginald Milton, Shelby County Commissioner-elect
  • Bo Mitchell, State Representative
  • Larry Miller, State Representative
  • Colonel Charles L. and Ellen Moore, U.S. Army Ret.
  • Gary Moore, President of AFL-CIO
  • Sandra Moore, Metro/Nashville Councilwoman
  • Steve Mulroy, Shelby County Commissioner
  • Wade Munday, Tennessee Democratic Party Treasurer
  • Diane Neighbors, Metro/Nashville Vice-Mayor
  • Bill Owen, Former State Senator and Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeeman
  • Adrienne Pakis-Gillon, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeewoman
  • Bruce Pearl, Former University of Tennessee Head Men’s Basketball Coach and Current Auburn Head Men’s Basketball Coach
  • Jason Powell, State Representative
  • Jeannie Richardson, Former State Representative
  • Karl and Gail Schledwitz, Memphis Businessman
  • Michael Scoggins, Business Manager Iron Workers Local 167
  • Jim Sellers, U.S. Air Force Ret. and Department of Veterans Affairs Ret.
  • Paul Shaffer, Business Manager IBEW Local 474
  • Johnny Shaw, State Representative
  • Paul Smith, Former Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair
  • Robert Sproles, Business Manager Steamfitters Local 614 and Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeeman
  • A.J. Starling, Treasurer of AFL-CIO
  • Steve Steffens, Memphis Democratic Blogger and Activist
  • Mike Stewart, State Representative
  • Jim Strickland, Chairman Memphis City Council
  • Jerry Summers, Attorney
  • Dwayne Thompson, Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committeeman and Democratic Nominee State Representative District 96
  • Joe Towns, State Representative
  • Johnnie Turner, State Representative
  • Van Turner, Former Shelby County Democratic Party Chair and Shelby County Commissioner-elect
  • Joyce Washington, Democratic Nominee State Representative District 76
  • Gay Webb, Dead Pigeon River Council
  • Kenneth Whalum, Pastor New Olivet Baptist Church
  • Ruby Wharton, Memphis Attorney
  • Jason D. Williams, Entertainer of Jason and the Scorchers
  • Norro Wilson, Grammy Award Winner
  • Tim Woodward
  • Jeff Yarbro, Democratic Nominee State Senate District 21
  • Zach Young, Goodlettsville City Commissioner

The Ball campaign is chaired by former U.S. Congressman Lincoln Davis. Serving as co-chairs in the Eastern Division is Rep. Joe T. Armstrong and Democratic Senate Primary opponent Terry Adams. The Middle Division is being represented by co-chairs Bill Freeman and Metro/Nashville Councilman-At-Large Jerry Maynard. TNDP treasurer Gale Jones Carson and Rep. Craig Fitzhugh have committed to representing Ball in the Western Division.

Press Releases

Ball Announces 2014 Campaign Team

Press release from the Campaign for Gordon Ball for U.S. Senate; August 21, 2014:

U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Gordon Ball announced Wednesday the 2014 Election Campaign Team to lead the way in challenging career politician Sen. Lamar Alexander in the General Election.

The campaign election team will be headed by democratic leaders from across the state of Tennessee. Former U.S. Congressional Representative for the 4th District Lincoln Davis. He will lead a team comprising chairs representing the three grand division including former U.S. Senate democrat candidate Terry Adams and 15th District Representative Joe E. Armstrong for the Eastern Division. Nashville Businessman Bill Freeman and Nashville Metro Council Member-At-Large Jerry Maynard will be co-chairs in Middle Tennessee working with the Gordon Ball for Senate campaign. West Tennessee will be headed by co-chairs Minority House Leader Rep. Craig Fitzhugh and TN Democratic Party Secretary and member of the DNC, Gale Jones Carson.

“Tennesseans are facing issues which need to be addressed because our state’s families, students and seniors are struggling..” Ball said. “Our campaign team is ready to bring tennessee common sense, compassion and leadership to solve the problems that our state is facing. We believe that we help our neighbors, we don’t abandon them because it is inconvenient or will interfere with political special interest groups dictating an agenda from DC that doesn’t help average people . We must push the discussion for a higher minimum wage, keeping our hospitals open by accepting Medicaid Expansion and taking care of our veterans.

“I am humbled to have these amazing state-wide leaders willing to stand with me as we work toward the next generation. None of us are taking anything for granted. We must do what is right. It isn’t going to be easy. We know this but we aren’t afraid. We won’t back down,” Ball added. “There is so much we can do together and we all are ready to get to work.”

For more information, visit

Press Releases

Knoxville-Area Democrat Files for U.S. Senate Race

Press release from the Campaign for Terry Adams for U.S. Senate; October 28, 2013:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Terry Adams, a Navy veteran, entrepreneur and attorney, announced today that he has filed to run as a Democrat for the U.S. Senate in 2014.

“After getting strong encouragement from a wide range of people around Tennessee, I have decided to enter this race,” Adams said. “We think the time is right for someone with a unique profile to run and win this seat and to serve Tennessee.”

Adams continued, “Washington is broken and we are not going to fix it by sending back the same people responsible for breaking it in the first place.”

Adams noted that if we had more small business owners and military veterans in Washington that common sense might prevail over out-of-control gridlock and brinksmanship.

“We have fewer veterans serving than in recent memory and I think that’s one of the reasons Washington is so painfully partisan and amazingly ineffective.”

With Republicans Lamar Alexander and Joe Carr battling for the nomination, Adams also noted that the Tea Party candidate had defeated an establishment Republican in at least eight recent Republican primaries for U.S. Senate: in Utah (Senator Lee), Colorado, Delaware, Missouri, Indiana, Kentucky (Senator Paul), Nevada, and Texas (Senator Cruz). Five out of the eight candidates then lost general elections.

Adams has roots in East, West and Middle Tennessee. He and his wife Phillis have two businesses in the Knoxville area where they live. Adams was raised in Nashville and went to college at UT Knoxville and the University of Memphis.

Nashville attorney, former Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman, and former U.S. Senate Democratic Party nominee, Bob Tuke is the Treasurer of Adams’ campaign.

A formal campaign kickoff and statewide tour is being scheduled.

Click here to read Adams’ short biography online.