State Representative Joe Carr announced on Ralph Bristol’s Nashville talk radio program on Tuesday that he is a candidate for the Republican nomination for the United States Senate. Carr will compete against incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in the party’s August 2014 primary. Bristol had promised his listeners on Monday that someone would make a “major announcement” that will “alter the Tennessee political landscape,” and at 7:10 in the morning Joe Carr delivered on that promise.
“I am announcing as a candidate for the United State Senate,” Carr told Bristol.
Carr left no doubt with whom he will stand in the Senate. “Conservatives deserve a clear voice in this election, and conservative champions like Ted Cruz, Mike Lee and Rand Paul need a strong ally from Tennessee in the US Senate.” Carr told Bristol.
In a statement released by the campaign as he announced on Bristol’s program, Carr said, “I will advance the conservative movement in Washington. I will fight for the Constitution and the first principles that made our country great: personal responsibility, individual liberty, and limited government. I will stand firm in defense of the 2nd amendment and insure that life of the unborn have a strong and vocal advocate.”
Carr blasted incumbent Republican Senator Lamar Alexander’s voting record. “Lamar Alexander has failed to advance the conservative movement and change Washington,” he charged, then hit the 73 year old Alexander on three main issues. “He voted for amnesty for 11 million illegals, supported funding Obamacare and rubber stamped Obama’s appointments to cabinet level positions and the Supreme Court. Voting with President Obama 62% of the time is unacceptable.”
A Triton Poll released on Sunday in an exclusive Breitbart story showed that Senator Alexander trails a generic “credible conservative” challenger by 5 points, 49% to 44%. Carr’s announcement on Tuesday puts an established name and face to that challenger for the first time. Bristol asked Carr if the results of that poll influenced his decision to challenge Alexander. “It confirmed what we knew. Lamar is popular, but there is a disconnect between the way he votes and what Tennesseans want.”
“If Lamar Alexander is voting with Barack Hussein Obama 62% of the time, he’s voting against Tennesseans 62% of the time,” Carr told Bristol.
As a state representative, where he is the co-founder of the Tenth Amendment Caucus, Carr has gained a reputation as a conservative firebrand. He is expected to join announced candidate Brenda Lenard and potential candidate Kevin Kookogey at an August 31 BEAT LAMAR Forum in Nashville.
Well respected conservative businessman Lee Beaman, who owns several large automobile dealerships in Middle Tennessee, will be Carr’s state campaign chairman. In a statement released by the campaign as Carr announced, Beaman said that “from the beginning, several of us . . . urged Rep. Carr to run for the US Senate. He led the fight to curb illegal immigration, abolish the death tax and protect the 2nd amendment, and we know he’ll lead from the front and change Washington.”
Before announcing for the Senate, Carr withdrew from the Fourth Congressional District race. With Carr’s departure from that race, incumbent Republican Congressman Scott Desjarlais, first elected in 2010 but beset by personal issues and weak fundraising, now faces only one major challenger, State Senator Jim Tracy. Carr currently represents a Rutherford County district in the Tennessee General Assembly.
Carr noted that his move to the Senate race is in response to widespread support for his own challenge to Senator Alexander. “Since I first announced my congressional exploratory committee eight months ago I have received literally hundreds and hundreds of requests from Tennesseans asking me to run for the US Senate instead of the US House. Tennesseans are hungry for strong, principled, conservative leadership, so I am answering the call.”
Carr sounded like a man prepared for a long and tough political battle. “I have no illusions. This is David versus Goliath. But I have extraordinary faith in my fellow Tennesseans. They will see through the spin and the rhetoric and recognize they have a clear choice to elect a conservative fighter. I will work tirelessly, and I will give my all for Tennessee.”
Carr enters the Senate race able to use the $275,000 he has in his Congressional campaign committee. With Beaman and other conservative Tennessee donors backing him, Carr is positioned to raise enough money to mount a serious challenge to the well financed Alexander.
Carr’s in-studio announcement on Bristol’s program was the first time in Tennessee political history that a major politician announced their candidacy for the United States Senate on a talk radio program.