Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul made yet another appearance Monday with Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, who is facing a Tea Party primary challenger. While considered one of the most moderate Republicans in the Senate, Alexander has been working in recent months to look more conservative.
Before anyone could ask, Alexander denied that he was trying to get political help from the Tea Party darling.
“We’re not here to endorse each other,” he said, without prompting. “Rand hasn’t asked me to endorse me for the President of the United States, and I haven’t asked him to endorse me for the Senate. We’re here on business.”
Specifically, Alexander said they were meeting with healthcare leaders to talk about what to replace Obamacare with if it gets repealed.
The last time Paul traveled to Nashville for a press conference with Alexander, they talked about protecting fishing rights below Corps of Engineer dams. Video of the two ended up in an Alexander campaign ad.
Asked Monday what he thinks of the implied endorsement, Paul didn’t really answer. He did say what he likes about Alexander.
“While I am very strong on speaking out on issues, sometimes I don’t have the ability to get things through and to actually get them into legislation,” Paul said. “I think [Alexander] was very successful getting that [Freedom to Fish Act] into legislation.”
Alexander’s main challenger – state representative Joe Carr of Rutherford County – has been seeking out Tea Party support but has been unable to get endorsements from icons within the movement.
On Monday, Carr challenged Alexander to a debate. The two-term senator stopped short of declining, but he questioned whether it could be scheduled in a way to involve all seven candidates, which includes businessman George Flinn of Memphis and the Democrats in the race.
“Would anybody learn anything from a debate among seven people like that? I debate every day on the floor of the Senate,” Alexander said.
He encouraged voters to read about his positions on the Internet or stop him in public.
“Usually I’m walking down the street and they can ask me,” he said.