It is Republican primary day in the Volunteer State, and today’s matchup pits Senator Lamar Alexander against GOP state senator Joe Carr. This primary looks like the Tea Party’s last real chance to unseat an incumbent—certainly a high-profile one.
Upsetting Alexander will be a difficult task. The incumbent, who has been in the senate for two terms, has worked to present himself as in touch with his constituents, even going so far as to give up a leadership post, as NPR reports:
Unlike some other Republican incumbents who have faced Tea Party challengers, Alexander has taken steps to stay in touch with Tennessee voters. He returns home frequently and rounded up support from all the state's Republican county chairs
He also gave up his post in the GOP Senate leadership, notes Bruce Oppenheimer, a professor of public policy and education at Vanderbilt University.
"I think he thought that was probably not going to serve him well in his reelection efforts," he says.