NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During the fourth quarter of 2013, state Rep. Joe Carr raised more than $250,000 in campaign contributions for his primary challenge against U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.
In a Federal Election Commission filing due later this month, the surge in campaign contributions comprises donations from more than 1,000 new donors, Carr announced Tuesday in a press release.
Carr, who is actively involved with the Tea Party, cited his recent travels around the state of Tennessee as reason for the increase in contributions, which up until now had been mediocre.
“As I’ve traveled from one end of Tennessee to the other, the response has been tremendous,” Carr said. “These numbers show that our message is resonating with Tennesseans.”
He said voters are becoming involved with his campaign because they “agree that we need conservative leadership in the Senate and a senator who isn’t afraid” to stand up to President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat from Nevada.
In an attempt to tap into a growing resentment against a so-called elitist Congress that is out of touch with Americans, Carr pointed out that Alexander has received many contributions from groups not based in Tennessee.
“Our campaign finance reports also highlight a fundamental difference between the two campaigns,” Carr said. “Sen. Alexander is supported by the political establishment and special interests in (Washington, D.C.,) who want to protect the status quo.
“Our campaign is backed by grassroots conservatives who want to take back their party and clean up the mess created by the liberal career politicians in Washington. I’m proud to have their support in this fight.”
The surge in campaign donations coincides with a few recent polls that show Alexander has lost some support among Tennessee voters and could be vulnerable to a Republican Party primary challenge.
A recent Vanderbilt University poll showed a 20 percent decline in his approval rating among voters who identify with the Tea Party. Overall, fewer than 50 percent of all voters who participated in the poll approve of how Alexander has represented the state recently.
Despite the polls, Alexander has been a longtime political powerhouse in the state. The former governor of Tennessee is considered by many political experts as a strong frontrunner in the 2014 elections.