Why are conservative national Super PACs not backing Carr? Maybe because of Flinn

Within a general review of the Republican U.S. Senate primary, Andy Sher has some commentary on why Joe Carr has been able to get “celebrity conservatives” (i.e., Laura Ingraham and Sarah Palin) to endorse him but not the arch-conservative national Super PACS with big money.

“We don’t have any intention of being involved in the Senate Republican primary in the state of Tennessee,” said Barney Keller, spokesman for the Club for Growth, which has backed any number of challengers to GOP incumbents.

Asked why, Keller would only say, “Sometimes we get involved in races and sometimes you don’t.”

The Senate Conservatives Fund did not respond to an email request for comment.

Nathan Gonzales, deputy editor of the Washington-based nonpartisan newsletter The Rothenberg Political Report, said these days one has to “pause before assuming that a sitting senator is just going to win a primary.

“But,” he added, “I’ll have to say it doesn’t look like there’s been the same consolidation of the support against the senator that we’ve kind of seen take place in the other races.”

Gonzales’ take is that Flinn’s being in the race has caused the largest groups “to pause about getting in” because they may perceive a “lack of consensus on the ground.”

Moreover, he said, “it is extremely difficult to beat an incumbent, particularly in a winner-take-all situation where you need to have everything to go right to thread the needle.”

In Tennessee, candidates don’t need a majority — 50 percent plus one person — to win an election. They can — and have — won with pluralities well below 50 percent. Outside groups’ calculation may be they “not only have to beat Lamar, but we have to beat Flinn, too,” Gonzales said.