Former state Rep. Joe Carr of Rutherford County, who came within nine percentage points of U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in the 2014 GOP primary, has now set his sights on U.S. Rep. Diane Blaker of the 6th Congressional District — and the rhetoric has begun.
From a Tennessean report:
Framing himself as an anti-establishment outsider, Carr accused Black of being “more interested in securing her place within the status quo” of the Republican Party and not taking on issues such as fighting Planned Parenthood, lowering the deficit and defunding the Affordable Care Act.
He singled out those issues even though Black has been a vocal critic of Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, including last year introducing the Defund Planned Parenthood Act.
“Since she’s been in Congress, Barack Obama’s agenda has basically gone unchecked,” Carr said. “She’s been vocal sometimes, but she’s never stood up to the establishment in the Republican Party and the establishment in Washington.
“She’s never pushed the agenda that she promised she would fight for.”
In a statement, Black campaign spokesman Matt Coker pushed back against Carr’s arguments, characterizing him as a politician constantly looking to run for higher office. Besides elected office, Carr’s bid in 2014 to be Tennessee Republican Party chairman also fell short.
“Carr is only able to call himself an outsider because he lost most all of the races he has sought,” Coker said in an emailed statement. “By our count, this is the fifth different office he has sought in the last eight years.
“While Congressman Black has pushed leadership in Congress for votes on important issues like defunding Planned Parenthood, freezing the refugee program, and budgets that balance, Carr has been looking for his next opportunity to get another taxpayer funded job.”
Carr’s decision to run comes even though his Rutherford County home address is not in the 6th Congressional District, nor is any part of Rutherford County in that district.
Instead, Carr, a former Tennessee state representative, lives four miles away from the 6th District in Congressional District 4, which is held by Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais. Carr briefly mounted a challenge against DesJarlais two years ago before pulling out.
Carr said Tennessee law requires only residency in the state — not the actual congressional district — to run for Congress.
…As to the reasons why he thinks he can win, Carr pointed to his performance in the 2014 Republican Senate primary against Alexander in which Carr won 12 of 19 Middle Tennessee counties that include portions of Congressional District 6. He lost the overall race against Alexander by a margin of 49.7 percent to 40.5 percent.