- - Thursday, June 12, 2014

Washington remains in shock today, two days after an unknown college professor upset House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in the Republican primary for Virginia’s 7th Congressional District.

The political earthquake is still reverberating around D.C.

And many people are now asking, “Who is the next Dave Brat?”

His name is Joe Carr, and he’s taking on Lamar Alexander, the liberal Republican senator from Tennessee.

Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of the 2014 Senate races is that none of the national tea party groups, other than Tea Party Nation, has become involved in this race.

Lamar Alexander is a political legend in Tennessee. He was twice elected governor. He is running for his third term as senator. He twice ran for president, and was George H.W. Bush’s education secretary.

Alexander has more buildings named after him than Donald Trump. Alexander’s name identification is off the charts in Tennessee.

And Alexander is in trouble.

Many Tennesseans, especially those in the tea party movement have long been upset with Alexander’s liberal voting record.

Alexander stepped down as the No. 3 Republican in the Senate in 2013 so that he could work more with Democrats and reach across the aisle. He is tied with Mississippi’s Thad Cochran for the lowest score by the American Conservative Union among Republican senators facing a primary challenge.

Alexander was given a 60 by the ACU. His challenger, Joe Carr, scored a perfect 100 in the Tennessee state ACU ratings for his time as a state legislator.

Since announcing he was running for Alexander’s seat, Joe Carr has run a very disciplined campaign. He has not made some of the rookie mistakes that other candidates running for the Senate this cycle have made. Despite the fact that he has had no outside support and Alexander’s campaign has locked up the establishment fundraising, Carr has had very solid and competitive fundraising.

Perhaps the most important point is that Alexander is in trouble in Tennessee.

In late May, Tea Party Nation did a survey of likely Republican voters. That survey showed Alexander with 44 percent and Carr with 20 percent — with 27 percent still undecided.

For a politician with Lamar Alexander’s stature, to be under 50 percent this close to a primary is incredible.

Even among those surveyed, 57 percent said they would consider or would very likely vote for a more conservative challenger to Lamar Alexander.

One of primary reasons Eric Cantor lost was that he was perceived as an out-of-touch Washington insider. The same perception holds true for Lamar Alexander in Tennessee.

Tennessee’s primary is not until Aug. 7, falling late in the primary calendar. Joe Carr is about where Chris McDaniel was in Mississippi at the same time out from the election, and McDaniel received more votes than Mississippi political legend Thad Cochran.

This is a wild political season and it isn’t over yet.

Who is the next Dave Brat? Who is the next insurgent candidate who will take out an entrenched, out-of-touch incumbent?

Look to Joe Carr in Tennessee.

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