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.
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