Tea Party groups organizing to challenge U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in next year's Republican Primary suffered a body blow this week. The rationale for the "Beat Lamar" group has been the need to elect senators "more like U.S. Sen. Rand Paul," the conservative from Kentucky.
But Alexander's first television buy, running this week, features none other than Paul saying "nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander."
It undercuts the conservative argument that voters ought to say no to Alexander.
Alexander has made his battle with the Corps of Engineers to rescind a ban on fishing below dams on the Cumberland River a centerpiece of his stump speech criticizing federal overreach. The libertarian Paul, who represents a state from which the Cumberland River flows, supported Alexander's bill to override the Corps.
Whether it was serendipity or a calculated move to ally himself with Paul, the "freedom to fish" campaign and the ad works well beyond fishing fans.
Meanwhile, the anti-Alexander forces have been unable to find a candidate.