Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Michael Patrick Leahy welcomed former state Representative Joe Carr, a conservative leader from Rutherford County to the studio.
During the second hour, Leahy and Carr reminisced about how they met in 2014 during the Beat Lamar grassroots campaign and rallied behind Carr as a candidate.
Leahy: In the studio with me is our good friend and former state representative and former US Senate candidate in 2014, Joe Carr. Good morning Joe.
Carr: Good morning Michael Patrick Leahy. It’s too early to be speaking.
Leahy: It’s too early. Everybody gets a pass.
Carr: Thank you for having me.
Leahy: It’s great to have you in Joe. You and I have been great friends. We first met back in late June of 2014.
Carr: That’s right.
Leahy: And we’ll take people a little bit down memory lane my friend.
Carr: Good stuff. Good stuff.
Leahy: So Ben Cunningham and I of course the founder of the Nashville Tea Party and the official guest host of The Tennessee Star Report. He was in yesterday. He’s here about once a month and does a great job. I had recruited Ben to help me recruit you. And we had started this little…
Carr: Do you remember where we first met?
Carr: That’s right.
Leahy: On the square.
Carr: On the square. That’s exactly right.
Leahy: I started this little Super PAC called Beat Lamar. And the premise was there were a lot of conservatives out there that didn’t like Senator Lamar Alexander’s politics.
Carr: His voting record kind of helped you out on that. (Laughs)
Leahy: Pretty liberal. Let me just say that although we went to beat him, personally he’s a very gracious guy.
Carr: And still is.
Leahy: Although he gets a little feisty on occasion. We haven’t had him on the program here for about one year and a half. Our last conversation was a little feisty.
Carr: I didn’t’ know that.
Leahy: But we like Lamar Alexander as a person.
Leahy: But we disagree with his politics significantly which is why back in May of 2014 Beat Lamar and I got a few donations. And the idea was to go door to door. Do you have kids go door to door?
Leahy: And promote a conservative candidate. We didn’t have a candidate but we were looking for one. And there was no one really putting their hand up saying that. I spent about a year going around the state talking to Tea Party movements about this.
Carr: I remember.
Leahy: And I’d walk in and there would be 30 people there and I’d talk to them. And none of them liked the politics of Lamar Alexander.
Carr: It was an interesting time because when you and I and Ben met I was an announced candidate for Congress.
Leahy: By the way, we were looking for a candidate who had the chops to take on Lamar Alexander.
Carr: And the establishment. Because he represented everything within the Republican Party that said the platform is a great thing to run on but we’re not going to use it in regards to governance. (Chuckles)
Leahy: And I knew basically most of the local Tea Party leaders in the state because I helped organize it along with Judson Phillips and Mark Skoda and a lot of great people here in Tennessee. You remember all of our friends. Very active.
Carr: Very active. Very committed.
Leahy: We were here. We didn’t have a candidate that was putting up their hand. So Ben and I went and made the case to you.
Carr: I remember. I remember.
Leahy: And you were not an easy sell. You kept telling me all the reasons why it didn’t make sense for you to do it. I kept trying to tell you. Joe, the state is calling for you. We’ve built this.
Carr: You did. You had done the heavy lift which is going around to all the Tea Party groups for the previous several months if not a year selling the idea that Lamar Alexander was vulnerable.
Leahy: Well, it was not a hard sell.
Carr: No, it wasn’t. But it was still a sell that somebody had to make and so you made it. I think it was in June or early July for Congress and I had already raised a little bit over $300,000 running for Congress. But I have to tell you, my heart wasn’t in that race even though I had a better than even chance of winning. My heart wasn’t in that race. So you talked to me. Lee Beaman talked to me. Andy Miller talked to me.
Leahy: And another candidate emerged. A nice fellow emerged. We had a big debate.
Carr: We did.
Leahy: We had to determine who Beat Lamar would endorse.
Carr: That’s correct.
Leahy: You and Kevin Coucachee were in a debate. And David Webb flew in from Fox.
Carr: That’s right. There were like 200 or 300 people there?
Leahy: Like 500 people there.
Carr: Yeah. It was big.
Leahy: It was a nice debate. I think that the majority of the people that were there were for you. But Kevin had his supporters as well. He chose not to run.
Carr: He did.
Leahy: And then there you were. So the group endorsed your candidacy.
Carr: And the rest is history.
Leahy: And you lost 49-40 in a tight race. Laura Ingraham came down for a huge rally.
Carr: I remember those times fondly. I remember you and Beat Lamar doing an excellent job.
Leahy: The kids were great. We had 100 kids working for us.
Carr: It was awesome.
Listen to the full second hour here:
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