Not only does U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander have some tough votes coming up during this re-election campaign, and being challenged in his primary, the calendar is also not on his side.
Primaries for most U.S. Senate campaigns are fairly early in the year, beginning in March. Tennessee’s primary is in August. Supporters of state Rep. Joe Carr, who is running against Alexander in the primary, say this gives conservative PACs time to assess the mood of the electorate and see what success they have had in other races.
Will Tea Party candidates win open seats in Georgia and Nebraska? Can they beat incumbent U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran in Mississippi? Of special interest is how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell fares against a Tea Party opponent in his primary May 20.
They can wait until summer to see if conservative challenges are working and whether Alexander’s poll numbers improve—or get worse. Alexander is below 50 percent in his approval ratings in two recent polls.