Nashville BEAT LAMAR event aims at Bob Corker, too - WKRN News 2

Nashville BEAT LAMAR event aims at Bob Corker, too

Posted: Updated: Sep 1, 2013 12:21 AM CDT

Many of those wanting to unseat one U.S. senator had just as much criticism for his Tennessee counterpart at a first of its kind event Saturday in Nashville.

It was the kickoff for a series of statewide forums sponsor by a group called BEAT LAMAR and several Tea Party organizations aimed at "vetting" Republican challengers to Senator Lamar Alexander, but fellow U.S. Senator Bob Corker drew plenty of ire as well.

"First of all they won't sign [Utah] Senator Lee's letter to de fund Obamacare, second they voted for illegal immigrants giving them free access to make them citizens," said Jeff Howe of Wilson County who was among an estimated 275 people at the event held at the Music City Sheraton.

"In every state around Tennessee both U.S. senators voted against the immigration bill, and in Tennessee both senators voted for it," said Jenny Hassell of Brentwood. "I am for a BEAT Bob PAC as well," she added about Sen. Corker.

A sea of red T-shirts, posters, yard signs and even door hangers proclaiming BEAT LAMAR filled the ballroom where one declared candidate and one potential candidate spoke and answered questions from the crowd.

At the entrance, attendees passed by small replica of rhinoceros.

It was a not so subtle reference to both senators being thought of as a "RINO" which is an acronym for Republican-in-name-only. 

State Representative Joe Carr of Rutherford County announced his run last week.  He told News 2, "We are allowing the conservatives across the state of Tennessee to gather around a single candidate and participate in that process."

Former Williamson County Republican Party Chair Kevin Kookogey would not say if he planned to run but said the forums could actually end up endorsing two conservative candidates for the Republican Primary next August.

"The BEAT LAMAR organization is doing this in association with this coalition of Tea Parties, so there is actually an outcome where it could be divided or it could be united," Kookogey told News 2.

The forums continue next Saturday in Memphis.

Knoxville graduate student and business woman Brenda Lenard was scheduled to be the event, but did not attend.

Senator Alexander served two terms as Tennessee governor from 1979-1987 and ran twice for president in 1996 and 2000 before being elected to the Senate in 2002.

A spokesperson for his campaign has said Alexander is "focused on being the best Senator he can be for Tennessee."

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