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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.

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Press Releases

Alexander Calls on Interior Secretary to Spare TN Fish Hatcheries

Press release from the Office of U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; September 11, 2013:

WASHINGTON, Sept. 11 – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) urged Interior Secretary Sally Jewell to support Tennessee’s national fish hatcheries at Dale Hollow and Erwin today. He did so while also joining a letter with House and Senate colleagues representing mitigation fish hatcheries that called on Jewell to delay the implementation of recommendations in a pending U.S. Fish and Wildlife report that could jeopardize the future of mitigation hatcheries in Tennessee and around the country.

Alexander said, “These hatcheries provide broodstock that help make trout fishing in Tennessee some of the best in the country. The nearly 900,000 Tennesseans and visitors who buy fishing licenses each year depend upon these hatcheries to replace trout in Tennessee’s fisheries.”

“If federal locks and dams are going to destroy fish, then the federal government has a responsibility to replace them. That’s why it’s important to make sure Tennessee’s hatcheries remain open,” Alexander said. “I helped work out a deal with the Tennessee Valley Authority to keep the hatcheries producing fish for the next three years, and as part of its national review I hope the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will take that into account.”

The letter, which Alexander joined with U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.) and Senators John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), asked for a 60-day delay in the implementation of any recommendations for closure of any national fish hatcheries or other plans, so the public could review them.

“It is our understanding that this study is soon to be released, along with decisions about hatchery closures,” Alexander and his colleagues said in the letter. “We are gravely concerned that Congress has not been consulted on the matter.”

In May, Alexander announced that he had brokered a deal to keep open Tennessee’s hatcheries at Dale Hollow and Erwin. The three-year agreement between the Tennessee Valley Authority and federal and state wildlife agencies has TVA paying to keep the hatcheries producing fish after budget woes had threatened their ability to do so.

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Press Releases

Senate Conservatives Fund Urges Alexander to Fight ACA Funding

Press release from the Senate Conservatives Fund; August 21, 2013:

Alexandria, VA — Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF) announced a new 60-second radio ad Wednesday calling on U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) to oppose all funding for Obamacare. Senator Alexander voted in favor of the FY2013 continuing resolution earlier this year, which included funding for Obamacare, and he has refused to oppose funding for the law’s implementation next year.

SCF’s radio ad will run on stations across Tennessee for two weeks beginning Thursday, August 22. The value of the media buy is $45,900.

 

 

“Republicans in Congress can stop Obamacare by refusing to fund it, but Senator Lamar Alexander refuses to join the fight.

“Lamar Alexander voted to give President Obama money to implement Obamacare earlier this year, and he’ll do it again if you don’t make your voice heard.

“Obamacare is unaffordable, unworkable and it’s unfair.

“It will hurt Tennessee families.

“Many could lose their doctors.

“Others may be forced to pay higher premiums.

“Obamacare is a job killer, yet Lamar Alexander refuses to do what it takes to stop funding for this liberal train wreck.

“Please visit Don’t Fund Obamacare dot com and sign the online petition urging Lamar Alexander to oppose all funding for Obamacare.

“Again, that’s Don’t Fund Obamacare dot com.

“This could be our last chance to stop Obamacare.

“It’s time for Lamar Alexander to start listening to us, not his friends in Washington.

“Send Lamar Alexander a message.

“Don’t Fund Obamacare dot com.

“Paid for by Senate Conservatives Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

“SenateConservatives.com.”

SCF is also running radio ads in North Carolina and South Carolina urging U.S. Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to oppose all funding for Obamacare.

Senate Conservatives Fund advocates for conservative policies and helps raise money for conservative U.S. Senate candidates.