Early reports indicate that Lamar Alexander has held off Joe Carr and another challenger in the Tennessee Senate primary. As Dave Weigel notes, the “defined issue” in this race was immigration. [(Sort Of) Live from Tennessee, Slate, August 7, 2014] If Lamar indeed survives, it will be interpreted as a defeat for patriotic immigration reform, even though it’s a triumph of sorts that such an entrenched Senator faced such a strong challenge.
However, it should be noted that Lamar Alexander, who voted for the Gang of Eight’s amnesty/immigration surge, ran as the second coming of Tom Tancredo towards the end of the campaign. Senator Alexander literally says the opposite of the truth, saying “last year, I voted to end amnesty.” Even National Review calls this “dubious.” [Senator Lamar Alexander Releases Ad With Dubious Statement about His Record on Immigration, by Ryan Lovelace, National Review, August 7, 2014]
This fits with the usual model of Republicans running as stalwarts of patriotic immigration reform, and then gleefully reversing their position once in office for another term.
Unfortunately, you can fool enough of the people, some of the time. It’s what keeps the GOP Establishment going.