Tea party support for Joe Carr not unanimous

Though state Rep. Joe Carr has the backing of “Beat Lamar,” (previous post HERE), his support from tea party activists is far from unanimous.

Excerpt from a Tennessean report:

The pick of Carr, however, followed a Sunday convention in Nashville among tea party organizations that showed that Carr is not a consensus pick for the right.

The Coalition for a Constitutional Senate, a separate group whose members from more than 60 Tennessee tea party organizations overlap with those of Beat Lamar, held a round of votes where it ultimately endorsed Carr over three lesser-known candidates. Carr collected only 59 percent of the vote during the first round of voting.

Other candidates considered by those who voted were Danny Page, Jerry Davis and John McDaniel. Twenty-seven groups were present, less than half the overall membership.

Still, Erik Stamper, a Sumner County tea party activist who leads the coalition, said Carr easily won more than 70 percent of the vote in the final of three rounds Sunday, which he said was the goal for gauging a consensus selection.

The results of the vote fuel skepticism about the viability of Carr’s uphill challenge to Alexander and whether the state lawmaker would be able to draw unified support from tea party conservatives.

..Monday, Carr expressed confidence that PAC support would be coming later in the campaign in advance of next August’s Republican primary, which he assured is “on their radar.” He also said he’s happy with his showing at the coalition meeting, noting that many people abstained in hopes that the vetting process would go longer.

“I’m not displeased at all,” Carr said. “In fact, it exceeded my expectations.”

Note: The Coalition news release is below

News release from Coalition for a Constitutional Senate:
This weekend dozens of leaders from the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate met together and voted to support Joe Carr in the Republican Primary for U.S. Senate. The Coalition is an effort by approximately 40 Tea Party groups and 20 similar liberty organizations whose goal has been to unify the movement behind a single Constitutionalist candidate for the 2014 U.S. Senate Republican primary. Participants in the Coalition include many of the state’s largest and most active grassroots organizations, such as the Nashville Tea Party, Chattanooga Tea Party, and Mid-South Tea Party.

The decision to support Joe Carr was made as the result of a process that started in May and included extensive candidate questionnaires and research into the candidates’ histories. The process culminated in this weekend’s candidate forum and convention in Cookeville. Nearly 100 leaders from the various organizations attended the 2-hour forum that featured the four candidates who had presented themselves for consideration. Following the forum these leaders met in convention, and after two and half hours of deliberation reached consensus that Joe Carr was the candidate to be supported by the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate.

The Coalition’s organizer, Eric Stamper, said the reason the Coalition was started was because Tennessee needs a stronger fighter for the Constitution, limited government and fiscal responsibility in the U.S. Senate and since Tennessee is not a runoff state it is important for the grassroots to unify behind a single candidate. The coalition’s website, ConstitutionalSenate.com, has a full list of participating groups and the candidates who participated in the vetting process.

And here’s an excerpt from an email sent around to some media folk (including yours truly):
At the beginning of the day, only 27 of the 63 groups in the coalition even
showed up. Three groups left before the final voting commenced. Joe only
received 59% of the vote on first ballot. Four other groups abstained (including
Campaign for Liberty). And, of the 20 remaining groups sympathetic to Joe (out
of 60+!) who participated in the final ballot, he could not even get a unanimous
vote. Some groups are going home to our members to discuss formally withdrawing
from the coalition.

The reason that the majority of the tea party groups did not show up, that seven
left/abstained, and that several others are going back home to discuss
withdrawing is because Beat Lamar is an absolute joke and has split the
conservative movement much more than united and its leaders have tried to force
Joe on everyone, including most who believe Joe is not our candidate. The fact
of the matter is, the vast majority of us realize Joe cannot win. His latest
embarrassment with the plagiarism can be forgiven by many, but to most of us, it
shows he does not have what it takes to defeat the powerful lion of the
Tennessee Republican machine. The bigger issue is Joe has not and will not win
the support of national conservative groups (like Senate Conservatives Fund and
Madison Project, who’ve said in recent newspaper reports that they will not
support him), without whose money, network, and aid, we simply cannot win.

The fact of the matter is we are still looking for our candidate, with or
without Beat Lamar. We believe we can still defeat Lamar, united, but that
requires the right candidate and a fair process. It’s not over, and Beat Lamar
does not speak for us. We will start anew, and we will find our guy (or gal).