The nation’s only Thursday primary occurs today with several races on tap for the Republicans. Democrats will have a relatively quiet night.
Two-term senator and former presidential candidate Lamar Alexander (R) faces a total of six Republican challengers, two of whom have raised in the neighborhood of $1.5 to $2 million apiece for their respective campaigns. State Rep. Joe Carr and self-funding physician George Flinn are the senator’s top challengers, but the fact that the anti-Alexander vote will be split among six GOP candidates goes a long way to ensuring that the senator will win re-nomination. Alexander’s other key structural advantage is that Tennessee is the only southern state that does not employ a run-off system. Therefore, whoever garners the most votes this evening, regardless of percentage, wins the party nomination.
Interest increased in this race after Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel out-polled Sen. Thad Cochran in their state’s June 3 Republican primary, but dissipated when the senator scored a come-from-behind victory in the June 24 run-off. Tea Party activists around the country believed that “Alexander was next” when they thought that Cochran was headed for defeat. Continue reading >
With the Volunteer State’s redistricting process just beginning, rumors are flying that at least two of the state’s four freshman Republicans could be facing serious primary challenges once the districts are re-drawn.
In the Chattanooga-anchored 3rd district, freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann may be facing an intra-party challenge from Weston Wamp, son of former Rep. Zach Wamp (R). The latter Wamp served in Congress for 16 years, winning his first election in the Republican landslide year of 1994. He vacated the seat in 2010 for a gubernatorial run, falling in the GOP primary to now-Gov. Bill Haslam.
In the 4th district, which will likely change significantly, freshman Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) may face stiff competition from state Sen. Bill Ketron in next year’s Republican primary. The new district is likely to be more to Ketron’s liking than are the current boundaries. As a member of the Senate State and Local Government Committee that has jurisdiction over redistricting, he will have a major say as to how the seat is drawn.
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