Eye on GOP Senate mid-term challenges: Matt Bevin, Kentucky – Joe Carr, Tennessee

Matt Bevin - R-challenger Kentucky / Joe Carr R-challenger Tennessee
Matt Bevin - R-challenger Kentucky / Joe Carr R-challenger Tennessee

WASHINGTON, February 22, 2014 – The battle for control of the United States Senate is heating up. Two primary challengers to watch are Matt Bevin fighting Mitch McConnell for the nomination in Kentucky, and Joe Carr fighting Lamar Alexander in Tennessee. The mid-terms don’t get as much national press as they should considering how important their outcome is to the future of America. 

Matt Bevin for Senate - Kentucky
Matt Bevin for Senate – Kentucky

America should pay attention to who is running across the country and ask serious questions about who the GOP is supporting those races.  There are a number of groups that rate Senators and Congressmen overall and on different issues, helping voters to better understand the candidates.

Heritage Action is one of the groups that rates Senators. Its ratings are well respected among conservatives.

Alexander and McConnell are both Republican senators running for re-election. McConnell has a Heritage Action rating of 80, Alexander has a Heritage Action rating of 46.  The average for all Republican senators is 67.  Conservatives might expect resources from conservative groups to flow to the challenger of a senator with a 46 rating. If Alexander is not supporting a conservative agenda, if he is a RINO (Republican In Name Only), then GOP money and support should flow to Joe Carr in an effort to knock out the entrenched, and ineffective, incumbent.

That expectation would be incorrect.

Former state representative Joe Carr is a conservative with a proven track record, challenging a senator whose record is not conservative. But he is not the challenger receiving support. That would be Matt Bevin.

McConnell has a Heritage Action rating of 80, while Bevin, his challenger, has no history as a conservative at all.

Yet all of the money and all of the resources are going to Kentucky to support Bevin. Bevin should be supported, as McConnell’s favorability is low, but for The Senate Conservatives Fund, the Madison Project and Freedom Works to all be in Kentucky fighting Mitch McConnell, while ignoring Joe Carr in Tennessee, is ill conceived. Support needs to head to Carr and the fight against Alexander, who is arguably one of the worst Republican senators in Washington. Alexander’s track record is terrible. Mitch McConnell is the Senate Minority leader and conservatives are justifiably outraged at the stunts McConnell has pulled of late, including not supporting Ted Cruz and not fighting to repeal Obamacare but it should not be an all in one state proposition.

Polls in Kentucky show McConnell neck and neck in a general election race against Allison Grimes, the Democrat.  The left is practically salivating that McConnell will be taken out and then they and their friends in the media can assault Matt Bevin, McConnell’s conservative challenger, as they did McCain in 2008 and Romney in 2012.

Joe Carr for Senate - Kentucky
Joe Carr for Senate – Tennessee

Meanwhile, Tennessee is a solid red state.  Whoever wins the GOP primary is going to win the election, so whether it is Carr or Alexander, Red wins, so why  bother?  There are some local groups, including one called “Beat Lamar,” which is a grassroots group, made up of local Tea Party groups to defeat Lamar Alexander, but larger support is needed and as Erick Erickson of Red State and Glenn Beck have both gone all in to support Matt Bevin and help him defeat Mitch McConnell, they also need to be in Tennessee to give Tennesseans stronger conservative representation.

So they question becomes why aren’t they standing with Joe Carr, the conservative who is challenging Lamar Alexander whose record shows a consistent tendency to lean left?

The answer may be anger from conservatives directed towards McConnell as the Senate Republican Leader.  The thinking being that McConnell can be replaced as leader in a new Congress with new conservative votes but no matter who wins the primary in Tennessee, the Senator sworn in, in 2015 will be a Republican.

But what if McConnell loses Kentucky and that seat goes to a Democrat? It could be the difference between a Republican majority and a Democrat majority in the Senate – the fallout, particularly if the democrats retain the White House, would be devastating to America and the Republican party.

But all of this leads to the question of why the conservative establishment in Tennessee isn’t fighting for a winnable seat against a sitting RINO candidate, instead of fighting a fight against McConnell  in Kentucky that they will probably lose and that could lead to democrats winning that seat and possibly contributing to Republicans losing the Senate.


Heritage Action Scorecard - Mitch McConnell - Kentucky
Heritage Action Scorecard – Mitch McConnell – Kentucky

Heritage Action Scorecard - Lamar Alexander - Tennessee
Heritage Action Scorecard – Lamar Alexander – Tennessee

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Judson Phillips is the founder of Tea Party Nation, one of the largest Tea Party Groups in the country and the number one national tea party site on the Internet. A lawyer by profession, Judson has been involved in politics since his teens. “Ronald Reagan inspired me,” he says. Judson became involved in the Tea Party movement in February 2009 after hearing Rick Santelli’s rant on CNBC. “I heard there was going to be a Tea Party in Chicago inspired by Santelli, but didn’t know if anyone was doing a rally in Nashville where I was based. Finally I emailed Michelle Malkin and asked her if there was a Tea Party in Nashville. Malkin sent an email back saying, ‘No, why don’t you organize one?’ I did.” The first Tea Party in Nashville was held late February 2009 which drew a crowd of about 600. Judson then organized the Tax Day Tea Party in Nashville, which drew over 10,000 people into downtown. It was at this time that Tea Party Nation was formed. Later that year, Judson decided to bring activists from across the country together, so he organized the first National Tea Party Convention in February 2010, which featured Alaska’s former Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin as it’s keynote speaker. He currently manages the Tea Party Nation website, writes several daily columns and is working on more projects than any one person should. He is a frequent guest on cable and broadcast news shows, including on Fox, MSNBC, CNN and others.
  • JT Hatter

    Spot on, Judson. Lamar Alexander is a RINO’s RINO. He does not represent the majority of Tennesseans and is not a conservative at all, although he pretends to be.

    Why indeed, are these conservative PACs and other organizations putting their resources in Kentucky? Well, because we’re all fed up with the total lack of leadership from McConnell, who is well known as the senate minority leader. Everybody wants to replace spineless Republican leadership, and the turtle undertaker is the least visible Republican in the senate.

    Few people outside the south know who Alexander is. But the conservative PACs should have had him in their sights long ago. Lamar needs to go, for the good of America.

  • Inez Babington

    Lamar’s running tv ads in TN that boast how he’s a big conservative. Sickening. I hope the silent conservatives get this Rino OUT and put Joe Carr in.

  • Wen

    Joe is not conservative.