Tea Party Rally Won't Include Alexander's Tea Party Challenger
A rally scheduled for Thursday night has all the makings of a political boon to Tennessee State Sen. Joe Carr, who's challenging Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in the Senate primary.
Stars of the Tea Party, including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, are headlining the event. It's being organized by the Servier County Tea Party, a group that hails from Rep. Phil Roe's (R-TN) R+25 congressional district. And the rally is scheduled for two days after the Mississippi runoff, which, if state senator Chris McDaniel wins, could give Carr additional political momentum.
But Steve Osborn, the Chairman of the Sevier Country Tea Party is taking pains to make clear the event isn't about the Carr-Alexander matchup.
Carr won't be speaking at the event – neither will Alexander – and may not even attend, according to Osborn.
According to Osborn, the Carr campaign reached out to him about attending the rally, but he said that Carr could only attend if he bought a ticket.
“I don’t believe that his schedule has allowed him to purchase a ticket,” Osborn said.
The event, titled “America’s Last Stand,” will be held at the Sevierville Convention Center.
According to a flyer for the rally, Palin, former-Rep. Allen West and former-Sen. Rick Santorum will speak at the rally.
Osborn explained that although he and members of his group supported Carr, the Republican primary challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander was not invited to speak at the event.
“As much as I like Joe Carr, I don’t want this to be about any particular politician or any particular race,” he said.
Representatives from Carr’s campaign are expected to be outside the event, handing out literature and campaign materials.
It is also unlikely that Palin will take the opportunity to officially endorse Carr at the event.
In recent days, rumors have swept the state that the event might turn into rally for Carr, expecting that former Gov. Sarah Palin would take the opportunity to endorse him.
But Osborn adamantly denied those rumors.
“I set the record straight real quick, that is not what this is about, this is about America’s last stand,” he said. “We are a generation that is watching liberty slip through our fingers like soft Jello.”
According to a Carr campaign spokesperson, they are currently seeking an endorsement from the Palin team, but they were still waiting for her decision.
Osborn said that the event was primarily about “trying to make people understand that we are on the precipice of being a full blown European-style socialism — not at all what our Constitution has intended, and it’s time that the people take their government back.”
Osborn added that Lamar Alexander was also not invited to attend.
As much as he respected Alexander’s political career, Osborn said, “he has been part of the problem, he has become part of the Washington elite.”