Lamar Alexander facing primary from the right

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander is facing a primary challenge from at least one candidate who says the two-term senator is too liberal.

Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, and Brenda Lenard have already declared their candidacy for next year’s primary. According to published report, another candidate — former Williamson County Republican Party Chairman Kevin Kookogey — has yet to formally announce his bid.

“We’re all here for one reason, and one reason alone, and that’s to beat Lamar Alexander,” Carr said during a recent rally, according to The Tennessean.

Alexander, a former governor of Tennessee, was elected to the Senate in 2002, picking up more than 54 percent of the vote to fill a seat by Fred Thompson, who did not seek re-election. Alexander was re-elected in 2008 with more than 67 percent of the vote.

Internal polls show Alexander leading Carr 64 percent to 22 percent, according to The Washington Post.

“The one good thing Lamar Alexander is very good at is campaigning,” the Chattanooga Times Free Press quoted Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham as saying. “He’s not very good at fighting the Democrats in Congress. He’s not very good for fighting for conservative principles. But the one thing that does get Lamar Alexander up every morning is retaining his power. That is a trait he shares, of course, with all the establishment Republicans.”

Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett is also considering entering the Republican primary, according to published reports. Alexander’s internal poll also shows the senator leading Burchett.

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