Joe Carr’s “Shock & Awe” Fundraising Quarter (TN-4)

In February, I introduced many of you to Rep. Joe Carr, a Tennessee legislator exploring a congressional bid against incumbent Scott Desjarlais (TN-4).  In that same post, I explained why Desjarlais is a deeply flawed Republican and needs to be shown the door. I also viewed Rep. Carr as a rising GOP star for his extraordinary ability to articulate conservatism, leadership in advancing the conservative movement and his ability to excel in fundraising for GOP candidates. [For your viewing pleasure, watch Rep. Carr clean Al Sharpton's clock in a gun control debate. My favorite moments are a) when Carr  calls Sharpton a Piers Morgan impersonator and b) Carr informs Rev. Al he has a bi-racial son after Sharpton launches a cheap shot attempting to compare him with the racist former Governor George Wallace of Alabama. No doubt Rev. Al was sad on the inside after that debate.]

Earlier today, Carr’s exploratory committee released his first quarter fundraising totals. Suffice it to say it was impressive. Scratch that. Allow me to elaborate. Let’s just say it was a “shock and awe” fundraising effort. While Carr’s two primary opponents have been fundraising for 3 years (Desjarlais) and 5 months (Tracy) respectively, Carr has been fundraising for just 6 weeks. He raked in more than $200K. Also, note the fundraising report is from Carr’s EXPLORATORY COMMITTEE. He hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy, and he’s raised nearly $35K a week. Essentially, Carr has been fundraising with one hand tied behind his back since he hasn’t officially announced. The press release from Carr’s exploratory committee probably had the cumulative effect of a Duke facepalm for the Desjarlais and Tracy campaigns.

Since I correctly predicted Carr’s rising conservative stardom in February, I’m going to venture another prediction and posit that Desjarlais will fail to surpass Carr’s fundraising total this quarter. A week or two ago, Desjarlais sent out an urgent email fundraising plea. Incumbents don’t do a desperate thing like that 18 months before an election unless they are rapidly approaching “freaking out status.”

Meanwhile, Tracy has floated a 250K figure around the Capitol for his campaign total, but that pales in comparison to what he had in the bank at a similar junction in the 2010 race. Through March 2010, Tracy had over $400K in the bank through two fundraising periods. So anything under $400K in the bank this quarter would likely be a disappointment for Team Tracy. Keep in mind Tracy outraised his two chief opponents in 2010 but finished third in the primary.

Carr’s fundraising prowess is significant because wealthy GOP supporters often prefer to remain on the sidelines during an exploratory phase, giving to candidates only after they cross the red line and officially announce. Therefore, it stands to reason that Carr is primed for another exceptional fundraising quarter once he makes his candidacy official. Here’s a refresher on why TN-4 needs to send Joe Carr to Washington.

Conservatives need to stop settling for mediocre candidates who simply vote the right way most of the time and devote their efforts to joining the GOP establishment glee club upon arriving in Washington. Dear Electorate, the nation is facing a crisis of leadership. Our debt is out of control, our military is being degraded, our liberties are under assault and our enemies around the world are increasingly belligerent and emboldened. Now is not the time to send a  backbencher to DC.

We need LEADERS who will LEAD the conservative movement and shake up Washington DC. We need candidates with integrity who not only vote right  (incidentally that criteria ought to be the minimum prerequisites) but who possess the ability to eloquently articulate the conservative message and advance freedom. Desjarlais is too damaged by his past to lead and advance the movement. He’s failed to lead since he’s been in Washington. Tracy is a Lamar Alexander type of Republican, which means he’s clearly not going to lead the movement either. Don’t believe me? Last month, Tracy sponsored a head-scratching ceremonial resolution honoring Lamar Alexander for his opposition to regulations that would prohibit public fishing below dams. If that’s not a “kiss the ring” gesture, I don’t know what is. Further, Alexander is anything but a conservative darling these days. Lamar’s no-show for the historic Rand Paul filibuster (protesting the Obama administrations refusal to guarantee it wouldn’t use drone strikes against US citizens) is a case in point. And Tennessee conservatives took notice of his absenteeism. You’d have thought he could have come up with some excuse to make a cameo. Granted a late night Alexander appearance at the filibuster would have been, well, odd. The conversation may have gone something along the lines of “Hey guys, I thought I left my cell phone in here earlier.” Awkward pause. “What are you all still doing here at this hour?” In stark contrast, Carr publicly praised Senators Paul, Cruz and Rubio for their principled stand against the Obama administration. Carr told supporters we needed more men and women like them in Washington. Here, here!

Here’s how I see it: one guy would go to Washington with a serious man crush on Lamar Alexander. Another would go there, align himself with Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and advance the conservative movement. I’ll take that guy, please.


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