Chattanooga will play host Thursday to the latest stop in a series of tea party forums designed to whittle away a conservative field and build consensus around a primary challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander, but there's a catch.
Only one candidate is scheduled to participate.
State Rep. Joe Carr will be the only participant in a "Beat Lamar" forum hosted by the Chattanooga Tea Party Thursday at 6:30 p.m. The event, which takes place at the Century Club Banquet Hall at 3221 Harrison Pike, will give attendees the chance to ask Carr questions and participate in a "straw poll" at the end of the event to help gauge overall support for the candidate.
In a news release, co-founder of the Beat Lamar group Michael Patrick Leahy said the field was narrowed down to one candidate after former Williamson County GOP chairman Kevin Kookogey said earlier this month he would not mount a campaign in order to avoid "infighting."
"Joe Carr's task is to persuade those in attendance at the Beat Lamar town hall in Chattanooga that he is worthy of their endorsement," Leahy said. "These are the people who will be going door to door to 'beat Lamar' in the August 2014 election, and Joe has to make his case to them."
Carr, who announced last month he would switch from a candidacy in the 4th Congressional District GOP primary, is the only Republican candidate to declare a bid against Alexander, who is seeking a third Senate term. The senator boasts broad support from the state's Republican establishment and has reported more than $3 million in campaign cash-on-hand.
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