Tennessee State Representative Joe Carr

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) has officially received his first Republican primary challenger. State Representative Joe Carr is going to challenge Alexander for being too liberal. From the Tennessean:

State Rep. Joe Carr announced today he will challenge U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in next year’s Republican primary.

In his announcement on Ralph Bristol’s conservative talk show on 99.7 WTN, Carr called Alexander “the most liberal” member of the state’s Republican delegation.

Insiders had anticipated a tea party candidate would challenge the 73-year-old Alexander, who has become a target of those from the far right.

Alexander is just the latest Republican to draw a legitimate primary for failing to be conservative enough. Already this year Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is in a tough primary fight against Matt Bevin. Liz Cheney is trying to beat Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) by running to the right. Finally, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has actually drawn three different challengers so far.

Even if the incumbents win all four of these races they will still have a real impact on the direction of the party. This year more Senate Republicans will face a tougher primary than a tough general election. So far McConnell is the only sitting Republican who appears likely to face a serious general election fight.

Combined with the fact the gerrymandering in the House means a primary is the only real election concern for a majority of House Republicans, you have a dynamic that is pulling the GOP even farther to the right.

Conservative primary elections are the driving political force in the Republican Party for the 2014 cycle.

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