Protecting the Right Flank

Prominent Knoxville Republicans are dragging out their checkbooks and running through their call lists. They have to raise close to $1 million in the coming months.

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander continues his campaign to head off a challenge from the right wing of his party. He didn't serve two terms as governor, become a cabinet secretary, and get elected to the U.S. Senate twice by being tone deaf.

He has seen his Republican colleague U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar defeated in a primary last year. Last week his Republican colleague U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss announced his retirement rather than face a Tea Party challenge in the Georgia primary next year.

Alexander has announced a series of four fund-raisers to be held in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis. He is lining up 10 people who have pledged to raise $100,000 each and 25 people who have pledged to raise $50,000 each. The first fund-raiser will be at the home of U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, in Chattanooga in April.

Politico, noting Alexander's fund-raising plans, said "Saxby Chambliss he is not."