2014 United States Senate election in Tennessee

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2014 United States Senate election in Tennessee

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  Lamar Alexander official photo (cropped).jpg 3x4.svg
Nominee Lamar Alexander Gordon Ball
Party Republican Democratic
Popular vote 850,087 437,848
Percentage 61.9% 31.9%

Tennessee Senate Election Results by County, 2014.svg
County results

Alexander:      40–50%      50–60%      60–70%      70–80%

Ball:      50–60%

U.S. Senator before election

Lamar Alexander

Elected U.S. Senator

Lamar Alexander

The 2014 United States Senate election in Tennessee took place on November 4, 2014, to elect a member of the United States Senate from the State of Tennessee. Incumbent Republican U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander defeated Democrat Gordon Ball and was reelected to a third term in office with 61.9% of the vote against 31.8%.


Alexander was reelected with 65.1% of the vote in the 2008 election. Alexander stepped down from his leadership role as Republican Conference Chairman of the United States Senate in 2011, but announced that he would seek reelection to a third term.[1] Nashville businessman, counseling executive and former 2012 U.S. Senate candidate Larry Crim filed his announcement of candidacy with the Secretary of the United States Senate in January 2013.[2]

Republican primary[edit]

Although Alexander was initially thought to be vulnerable to a primary challenge from the right, he worked to avoid this and ultimately did not face a high-profile challenger. He declared his intention to run early, quickly won the endorsement of Governor Bill Haslam, every living former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman and the state's entire Republican congressional delegation (except scandal-hit Scott DesJarlais). He also raised a large amount of money and worked to avoid the mistakes of ousted Senators Bob Bennett and Richard Lugar by trying to stay in touch with his constituents, especially in East Tennessee. Moreover, out-of-state conservative organizations such as the Senate Conservatives Fund made little effort to defeat Alexander.[3]

During his re-election campaign in 2008, Alexander faced no opponents in the Republican primary.[4] As early as July 2013, it was obvious that the same would not be true in 2014. The weekend of July 20, 2013, a rally was held in Smyrna in opposition to Alexander. Activists attending the event included Williamson County GOP leader Kevin Kookogey.[5] By mid-August, Triton Polling released a poll showing Alexander trailing "a generic conservative" by 4.6 points.[6] But no "generic conservative" seemed to want to step up. In search of a candidate, a "Beat Lamar" PAC held a forum and invited Kookogey, Knox County mayor Tim Burchett, and Alexander's only formal opponent at the time, Brenda Lenard of Knoxville.[7]

On August 20, 2013, State Representative Joe Carr announced his candidacy. He had previously been opposing Scott Desjarlais in the race for Tennessee's 4th congressional district, but swapped races under public pressure.[8] Kookogey soon dropped out of the race.[9] Four candidates were then vetted in September by the "Coalition for a Constitutional Senate": Carr, truck driver Jerry Davis, business owner John McDaniel, and electrician Danny Page.[10] The coalition ultimately endorsed Carr with 59% of the vote,[11][12] but some felt that Carr's nomination was coerced by the leaders of the Beat Lamar PAC.[13][14] Independent candidate Danny Page was especially vocal on that issue.[15]

Entering the race late was George Flinn, a radiologist from Memphis who had run for Congress against Steve Cohen in 2012.[16] There was some speculation that Flinn was a spoiler deployed by Alexander to steal Tea Party votes from Carr.[16]

In the primary's final stretch Carr was endorsed by Sarah Palin,[17] but he did not receive much other support from outside of Tennessee, failing to receive endorsements from the Senate Conservatives Fund[18] or the Club for Growth.[19]

Ultimately, Alexander won the primary, though he recorded the lowest winning percentage (49.7%) and lowest margin of victory (9.2 points) ever in a primary for a Republican U.S. Senator from Tennessee. Carr won a larger percentage of the vote (40.5%) than the previous 11 challengers to sitting Republican U.S. Senators in Tennessee history combined (40.3%).[20]




  • Danny Page, electrician (running as an Independent)[25][26]



Lamar Alexander


Joe Carr




Poll source Date(s)
Margin of
Other Undecided
North Star Opinion Research* August 19–22, 2013 600 ± 4% 64% 22% 14%
69% 16% 15%
Public Policy Polling^ December 2–3, 2013 391 ± 5% 46% 40% 14%
MTSU January 23–26, 2014 ? ± ? 40% 7% 4% 49%
North Star Opinion Research* February 3–6, 2014 600 ± 4% 62% 17% 2% 1% 18%
North Star Opinion Research* May 12–14, 2014 600 ± 4% 56% 14% 1% 1% 22%
Tea Party Nation/Triton May 22, 2014 1,100 ± ? 44% 20% 9% 27%
Tea Party Nation/Triton July 10–11, 2014 1,099 ± 2.9% 43% 36% 21%
North Star Opinion Research* July 20–22, 2014 600 ± 4% 53% 21% 9% 15%
North Star Opinion Research* July 27–29, 2014 600 ± 4% 53% 24% 1% 1% 5% 16%
Red Racing Horses & PMI inc. July 28–30, 2014 400 ± 5% 41% 29% 5% 5% 20%
Poll source Date(s)
Margin of
Someone more
Triton Polling August 15–16, 2013 680 ± 3.7% 44.9% 49.5% 5.6%
  • * Internal poll for Lamar Alexander campaign
  • ^ Internal Poll for Terry Adams campaign


Republican primary results[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Lamar Alexander (incumbent) 331,705 49.65%
Republican Joe Carr 271,324 40.61%
Republican George Shea Flinn 34,668 5.19%
Republican Christian Agnew 11,320 1.69%
Republican Brenda S. Lenard 7,908 1.18%
Republican John D. King 7,748 1.16%
Republican Erin Kent Magee 3,366 0.52%
Total votes 668,039 100.00%

Democratic primary[edit]


  • Terry Adams, attorney[43]
  • Gordon Ball, attorney[44]
  • Larry Crim, candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2012[45]
  • Gary Gene Davis, perennial candidate[21]


  • Jacob Maurer, high school educator and write-in candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2012[21][46]



Terry Adams

Public Figures


Gordon Ball
Larry Crim

Public Figures

  • State Rep. Barbara Cooper of Memphis[56]
  • State Senator Reginald Tate of Memphis[56]
  • Commissioner Chantho Sourinho of Rutherford County, Tennessee [57]
  • Imogene Bolin, Esq., Attorney of Middle Tennessee and Professor Emeritus of Public Administration Middle Tennessee State University[58]
  • Tim Mills Minister, Author and U.S. Selective Service Board Member serving Tennessee Region[59]
  • Metro Nashville Councilman Tony Tenpenny [59]
  • Metro Nashville Councilman Doug Pardue [59]
  • Metro Nashville Councilman Scott Davis[59]
  • The Nashvillian[60]



Democratic primary results[42]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Gordon Ball 87,829 36.45%
Democratic Terry Adams 85,794 35.61%
Democratic Gary Gene Davis 42,549 17.66%
Democratic Larry Crim 24,777 10.28%
Total votes 240,949 100.00%

General election[edit]



Lamar Alexander (R)

Tennessee State Government

Members of US Congress

Former Tennessee Officials

U.S. Governors

Gordon Ball (D)
Danny Page (I)
  • Jacob Brimm, former candidate for US Congress 2014- Tennessee's 7th district[66]
  • Mark "Coonrippy" Brown, Republican candidate for Governor of Tennessee in 2014[67]
  • Mary Cook, leader of the Smokey Mountain Tea Party[66]
  • June Griffin, US Senate Candidate in 2002, leader of Rhea County Tea Party[66]
  • John D. King, former candidate for Republican nomination US Senate 2014[66]
  • Brenda Lenard, former candidate for Republican nomination US Senate 2014 & 2012[66]
  • Erin Kent Magee, former candidate for Republican nomination US Senate 2014[66]
  • Kay White, leader of Tri-Cities Tea Party[66]
  • Libertycandidates.com[68]


The first was held in Chattanooga, Tennessee sponsored by Democrats United For Tennessee Inc. and Central Labor Council Members which included 15 Candidates for state and federal office attended by Larry Crim for U.S. Senate [69] (The Chattanoogan). Crim criticized Senators Bob Corker of Chattanooga and Lamar Alexander of Nashville for overreaching into the free enterprise of VW and their works councils which Mr. Crim stated also implicated free association rights of the company, workers and labor and the free vote.(http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/3/3/270950/Tennessee-Democratic-Candidates-And.aspx) (The Chattanoogan). U.S. Senate candidate Larry Crim and UAW International Rep. Tom Savage spoke on the importance of free elections at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga at the candidate debate. The candidate debate and forum was held at the Kingdom Center of Olivet Baptist Church. Mr. Crim said, "Protecting voter rights for a free and fair election are as fundamental to expressing the will of workers in the workplace as it is to Americans at the polling place". "For a U.S. Senator to offer incentives or threaten withdrawing public resources based on whether workers vote to recognize the union interferes with their free choice" continued the Democratic candidate for United States Senate. "It seems clear that there was an overreach here and I stand with labor on that" said Crim.[70]

The second debate was held in Bolivar, Tennessee and attended by Democrats Gordon Ball and Terry Adams, Republican George Flinn, and independents Ed Gauthier and Danny Page. The attendees criticized Alexander and Carr for not attending.[71][72]

The third was a "candidates' forum" after the primary in Cookeville on October 16. Only Republican nominee Lamar Alexander and Democrat nominee Gordon Ball were allowed to participate.[73]

The fourth debate was on October 23 at a Sheraton Hotel across from the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville. The nominees for the Democratic Party (Gordon Ball), Libertarian Party (Joshua James), Green Party (Martin Pleasant), and Constitution Party (Joe Wilmoth) were all in attendance as well as independents Tom Emerson, Ed Gauthier, and Danny Page.[74] The moderator was blogger Tom Humphrey of the blog "Humphrey on the Hill". The candidates discussed a number of issues, including abortion, The Islamic State, Common Core education standards, and global warming, but the issue that stuck most with the media was marijuana. There was a general consensus among the seven candidates in attendance that the federal government should not be involved in the issue, and that authority on marijuana should be reserved to the states and people.[75] Incumbent Senator Lamar Alexander declined to participate in the debate, and was mocked by Democrat Gordon Ball as being "chicken". Alexander was speaking in front of various groups in Nashville and Murfreesboro that day.[74]

The fifth and sixth debates were held in Johnson City and Crossville, and featured candidates Gordon Ball and Danny Page. Senator Alexander was invited, but attended neither.[76][77]


In September, an education summit was held in Nashville by Governor Bill Haslam. A protest of the summit (which was largely a protest of the "Common Core" standards) was attended by Democrat Gordon Ball and independent Danny Page.[78]

In late September, eleven members of the Tennessee General Assembly who had backed Joe Carr in the primaries announced they would back Alexander in the general election, saying, "We feel that it is vitally important to the country that we stand together and support replacing the liberal agenda that is now in control of the United States Senate". Carr himself abstained from the endorsement.[63]


Source Ranking As of
The Cook Political Report[79] Solid R November 3, 2014
Sabato's Crystal Ball[80] Safe R November 3, 2014
Rothenberg Political Report[81] Safe R November 3, 2014
Real Clear Politics[82] Safe R November 3, 2014


Poll source Date(s)
Margin of
Alexander (R)
Ball (D)
Other Undecided
Rasmussen Reports April 29–30, 2014 750 ± 4% 51% 25% 10% 15%
CBS News/New York Times July 5–24, 2014 1,465 ± 5.4% 48% 33% 14% 5%
Rasmussen Reports August 11–12, 2014 750 ± 4% 47% 32% 10% 12%
CBS News/NYT/YouGov August 18 – September 2, 2014 1,056 ± 4% 47% 32% 10% 11%
CBS News/NYT/YouGov September 20 – October 1, 2014 1,007 ± 4% 53% 32% 2% 12%
CBS News/NYT/YouGov October 16–23, 2014 974 ± 5% 55% 33% 2% 10%


United States Senate election in Tennessee, 2014[83]
Party Candidate Votes % ±
Republican Lamar Alexander (incumbent) 850,087 61.87% -3.27%
Democratic Gordon Ball 437,848 31.87% +0.23%
Constitution Joe Wilmoth 36,088 2.63% N/A
Green Martin Pleasant 12,570 0.91% N/A
Independent Tom Emerson, Jr. 11,157 0.81% N/A
Independent Danny Page 7,713 0.56% N/A
Independent Rick Tyler 5,759 0.42% N/A
Independent Joshua James 5,678 0.41% N/A
Independent Bartholomew J. Phillips 2,386 0.17% N/A
Independent Edmund L. Gauthier 2,314 0.17% N/A
Independent Eric Schechter 1,673 0.12% N/A
Independent Choudhury Salekin 787 0.06% N/A
n/a Write-ins 5 0.00% N/A
Total votes 1,374,065 100.0% N/A
Republican hold

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Alexander quitting leadership post in Senate". Politico. September 20, 2011.
  2. ^ http://knoxblogs.com/humphreyhill/2013/01/31/larry_crim_files_as_democratic/
  3. ^ Alexis Levinson (August 1, 2014). "How Lamar Alexander Staved Off His Primary Challenger".
  4. ^ "Elections - Tennessee Secretary of State" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-13. Retrieved 2014-09-25.
  5. ^ "Alexander under fire on immigration".
  6. ^ "Triton Polling - Tenessee US Senate Survey - Topline Results _3_". Archived from the original on October 30, 2013.
  7. ^ "www.tennessean.com/article/20130816/NEWS02/308160101/1972/NEWS02".
  8. ^ "Rep. Joe Carr Announces Primary Challenge of Sen. Lamar Alexander".
  9. ^ "Kevin Kookogey backs out of tea party bid against Sen. Alexander". wbir.com. WBIR-TV. September 3, 2013. Retrieved April 29, 2017.
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-09-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ TEGNA. "TN tea party groups back Joe Carr for Senate, but not without dissent".[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-28.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ "Some Tea Party members OK with the Carr, but not with the driver - Tennessee Ticket".
  14. ^ "Tea party support for Joe Carr not unanimous". October 1, 2013.
  15. ^ "Tea Party Candidate Says He's Been Shut Out of Beat Lamar Process". The Tennessean.
  16. ^ a b "George Flinn plans to run against Lamar Alexander - Memphis Business Journal".
  17. ^ "Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr against Sen. Lamar Alexander".
  18. ^ http://www.washingtontimes.com, The Washington Times. "PHILLIPS: Ken Cuccinelli: Put your money where your mouth is".
  19. ^ "Challengers From the Right Struggle in G.O.P. Senate Primaries in 2 States". The New York Times. August 5, 2014.
  20. ^ Ostermeier, Eric (August 7, 2014). "Alexander Records Weakest Primary Win for GOP US Senator in Tennessee History". Smart Politics.
  21. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q "Petitions Filed for Governor, United States Senate, and United States House of Representatives" (PDF). Tennessee Secretary of State. Retrieved April 7, 2014.
  22. ^ SCHELZIG, ERIK (August 20, 2013). "State Rep. Joe Carr announces Alexander challenge". The Miami Herald. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  23. ^ Veazey, Kyle (April 1, 2014). "George Flinn says he'll challenge Alexander in U.S. Senate primary". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  24. ^ Dugger III, A.J. (August 4, 2013). "Tea Party candidate challenges Alexander". The Murfreesboro Post. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  25. ^ Garrison, Joey (September 24, 2013). "Tea Party candidate says he's been shut out of Beat Lamar process". The Tennessean. Retrieved October 7, 2013.
  26. ^ a b Page, Danny (March 15, 2014). "A Declaration of Running as an Independent". Danny Page for Senate. Archived from the original on April 4, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  27. ^ a b c d e f "Clamoring for a conservative to challenge Alexander". Chattanooga Times Free Press. May 26, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  28. ^ "Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett won't run for U.S. Senate". WATE-TV. October 9, 2013. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  29. ^ a b c Humphrey, Tom (July 14, 2013). "Political notebook: Ramsey, Campfield reject entreaties to oppose Sen. Alexander". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved August 12, 2013.
  30. ^ Harris, Alex (August 28, 2013). "Jacobs Staying Out of Political Ring, Leaves Alexander to Other Challengers". TNReport. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  31. ^ Garrison, Joey (September 3, 2013). "Kevin Kookogey backs out of tea party bid against Sen. Alexander". The Tennessean. Retrieved September 4, 2013.
  32. ^ Sher, Andy (March 18, 2013). "Franklin businessman says he won't challenge Sen. Alexander in 2014, will support him instead". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  33. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Harrison, James (March 8, 2013). "Sen. Lamar Alexander touts additional backers for 2014". Nooga.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  34. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Whitehouse, Ken (February 7, 2013). "Alexander campaign continues to lasso GOP leaders". NashvillePost.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Raju, Manu (December 1, 2012). "Lamar Alexander unveils heavyweight support". Politico. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  36. ^ a b Harrison, James (August 22, 2013). "Sen. Lamar Alexander boasts Mike Huckabee endorsement". Nooga.com. Retrieved December 6, 2013.
  37. ^ "Rep. Joe Carr Lands Pair of Early Key Endorsements in US Senate Race". August 22, 2013.
  38. ^ "Sarah Palin endorses Joe Carr for U.S. Senate".
  39. ^ "Laura Ingraham to campaign for Joe Carr in Tennessee".
  40. ^ "Coalition Convention results: Joe Carr is in!". September 30, 2013. Archived from the original on October 29, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  41. ^ "Tea Party Nation endorses conservative challenger to Lamar Alexander". August 20, 2013. Archived from the original on July 29, 2014. Retrieved August 11, 2014.
  42. ^ a b "August 7, 2014 Unofficial Election Results". Tennessee Secretary of State. Archived from the original on September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  43. ^ a b c d e f Sher, Andy (October 28, 2013). "Knoxville attorney Terry Adams enters 2014 race for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  44. ^ a b Humphrey, Tom (January 15, 2014). "Attorney Gordon Ball to seek Democratic nomination to U.S. Senate". KnoxBlogs. Retrieved February 26, 2014.
  45. ^ Humphrey, Tom (January 31, 2013). "Larry Crim Files as Democratic Candidate for U.S. Senate". Knoxville News Sentinel. Archived from the original on October 12, 2013. Retrieved May 1, 2013.
  46. ^ Garrison, Joey (August 12, 2013). "Jacob Maurer, not just Larry Crim, seeking '14 Democratic nomination for U.S.Senate". The Tennessean. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
  47. ^ "Bredesen won't challenge Alexander". Politico. December 3, 2012.
  48. ^ "Judge Joe Brown, Ousted from his CBS Courtroom, Could Run for the Senate". Memphis Flyer. April 21, 2013.
  49. ^ Zelinski, Andrea (July 22, 2013). "Rep. Fitzhugh passes on run for governor". Nashville City Paper. Archived from the original on August 22, 2013. Retrieved July 24, 2013.
  50. ^ Garrison, Joey (August 12, 2013). "A year out, TN Democrats' search for governor, Senate candidates turning cold". The Tennessean. Retrieved August 20, 2013.
  51. ^ a b c Adams challenges fellow Democrat Ball to debate in U.S. Senate primary race Knox News, July 6, 2014
  52. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k TN-SEN: Meet Terry Adams, Democratic Challenger to Sen. Lamar Alexander - Mar 12 Fundraiser (Video) Daily-KOS, March 7, 2014
  53. ^ "Timeline Photos - Terry Adams for U.S. Senate". Facebook. Retrieved July 25, 2014.
  54. ^ "Times picks for U.S. Senate, governor". Chattanooga Times Free Press. 2014-07-27. Retrieved July 27, 2014.
  55. ^ a b Ball, Gordon (March 20, 2014). "Pleased to announce that our campaign has been endorsed by Mayor AC Wharton of Memphis". Twitter. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  56. ^ a b https://www.larrycrimussenate.com. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  57. ^ "Aanmelden bij Facebook".
  58. ^ "Veiligheidscontrole nodig".
  59. ^ a b c d https://www.larrycrimussenate.com
  60. ^ https://www.facebook.com/The-Nashvillian-186765228044442
  61. ^ https://www.facebook.com/larrycrimussenate. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  62. ^ https://www.facebook.com/The-Nashvillian-186765228044442. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  63. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Eleven Joe Carr supporters now back Lamar Alexander".
  64. ^ Jaffe, Alexandra (October 24, 2014). "Maine Independent endorses GOP's Alexander". The Hill. Retrieved October 25, 2014.
  65. ^ a b c d e f "Jim Cooper, council members, lawmakers endorse Gordon Ball".
  66. ^ a b c d e f g "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2014-09-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  67. ^ "44,761 people across Tennessee believed... - Coonrippy Governor 2018 - Facebook".
  68. ^ "Page not found – Liberty Organico!".
  69. ^ (http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/3/3/270950/Tennessee-Democratic-Candidates-And.aspx)
  70. ^ (http://www.chattanoogan.com/2014/3/6/271232/UAW-And-U.S.-Senate-Candidate-Address.aspx)
  71. ^ "Bolivar bristles at politicians' debate snub".
  72. ^ "Absent Incumbents Take Lumps at Bolivar Forum".
  73. ^ "Lamar Alexander, Gordon Ball exchange barbs at forum".
  74. ^ a b "Ball, others debate without Alexander".
  75. ^ "Tennessee candidates dismiss federal role on pot during Nashville debate".
  76. ^ "Two US Senate Candidates Hold Forum at Holiday Inn". wjhl.com. Nexstar Broadcasting.
  77. ^ "Ball Issues Invitation to Alexander for Final Debate Sunday". November 1, 2014.
  78. ^ "Summit previews next round of Common Core fight".
  79. ^ "2014 Senate Race Ratings for November 3, 2014". The Cook Political Report. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  80. ^ "The Crystal Ball's Final 2014 Picks". Sabato's Crystal Ball. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  81. ^ "2014 Senate Ratings". Senate Ratings. The Rothenberg Political Report. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  82. ^ "2014 Elections Map - Battle for the Senate 2014". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved September 20, 2018.
  83. ^ https://sos-tn-gov-files.s3.amazonaws.com/20141104_CountyTotals_01.pdf

External links[edit]

Official campaign websites