When Senator Lamar Alexander arrives at the Hangar at Smyrna Air Center on Saturday accompanied by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee for his big campaign event called a "Salute to Middle-Tennessee Republican Party Chairmen," inside will be a who's who of Tennessee Republican Party politics. Master of ceremonies for the event will be Chris Devaney, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party. Scores of elected State Representatives, State Senators, County Party Chairmen, and other Party officials and party faithful will be there to listen and cheer and be entertained.
Outside will be a crowd of tea party activist and other conservatives and grass roots Republican activist to protest Alexander; maybe just as large as the group inside. The counter demonstration has been building for weeks. Among those groups organizing or participating in the counter protest will be the 9-12 project group led by J. Lee Douglas, The Nashville Tea Party led by Ben Cunningham, the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty led by former Vice Chair of the Davidson Country Republican Party Matt Collins. and the Nashville Libertarian Party. Other conservative activist and groups have resent the announcements to their email list and reposted the protest announcements on Facebook.
Alexander is opposed because of his more moderate voting record. The Heritage Foundation gives Alexander a score of 47% while the average score of Republican Senators is 67%. Particularly galling to conservative activist is Alexander's support for the recently Senate passed comprehensive immigration reform bill, his support for the Internet sales tax, his support for the New Start nuclear arms reduction treaty and his pro-environmental record. "Senator Alexander votes with Obama 63% of the time," is a constant reoccurring criticism.
"We think that his record is unacceptable and that he should've voted with the Constitution,” said Matt Collins, a coordinator with the Tennessee Campaign for Liberty in a statement.
So far, critics of Senator Alexander have not been able to find a viable candidate to run against him. Senator Corker, Gov. Haslum, Speaker Harwell, Lt. Gov. Ramsey, all former Republican Governors, all former State Party Chairmen, all seven Tennessee Republican U. S. Representatives, and scores of State senators and State representative have endorsed Lamar and he has a huge financial war chest.
I expect the protest to be peaceful and respectful. For one thing, tea party protest are always peaceful and respectful but for another, many of those there to celebrate Lamar and many of those there to protest Lamar know each other and have worked closely together on other issues and other campaigns. This is a disagreement among friends.
Unfortunately due to a family obligation, I will not be able to attend the event. If anyone makes a video or can report on the event, please send it to me. Rod