Joe Carr

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Joe Carr
Joe Carr.jpg
Tennessee House of Representatives District 48
Former member
In office
2008 - 2014
Bachelor'sMiddle Tennessee State University, 1981
BirthdayMarch 25, 1958
ProfessionBusiness Owner
Campaign website
Joe Carr (b. March 25, 1958) is a former Republican member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, representing District 48 from 2008 to 2014.

Carr ran for election to the U.S. Senate, representing Tennessee in 2014. Incumbent Lamar Alexander defeated Carr in the Republican primary.[1][2]

Carr initially considered a run for the U.S. House of Representatives representing Tennessee's 4th District.[3][4]


Carr earned his B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University in 1981. He is the owner of Virtual Edge, LLC and Cedar Snag Farms.[5]

Committee assignments


At the beginning of the 2013 legislative session, Carr served on the following committees:

Tennessee Committee Assignments, 2013
Government Operations
Local Government
Government Operations


During the 2011-2012 legislative session, Carr served on the following committees:


During the 2009-2010 legislative session, Carr served on the following committees:


Campaign themes


Carr’s website highlighted the following campaign themes:[6]

1. Constitutional Rights We must never forget that many of our country’s founders sacrificed their lives and fortunes in order to secure our basic human rights – which are enumerated in our Constitution. Our rights come from God—not man—and our founders designed our foundational documents to protect and defend these God-given rights. The one constitutional right that safeguards all other rights is the second amendment – the right to bear arms. As a lifetime member of the NRA and Gun Owners of America, I pledge to promote, protect and defend every law-abiding Americans’ ability to keep and bear arms for personal safety, to defend their property, and to enjoy hunting and sporting. I will also fight to defend the 2nd amendment to protect our liberty in the event we ever find ourselves fighting against a tyrannical government to uphold our sacred honor.

2. Budget and Spending I believe it is vital to our nation’s survival that the federal government not just reduce spending, but that we enact absolute spending caps. That’s what we do here in Tennessee, and that’s why we have a AAA credit rating and a “rainy day” fund of over $450 million. As your Senator I will push hard for repealing or defunding Obamacare. We the people will no longer tolerate wasteful federal bailout programs like the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) or any other wasteful program that increases the federal deficit and debt. Washington must learn from Tennessee how to balance its budget.

3. National Debt Limiting the size of the federal government is key to saving our nation’s financial future. We have too many programs, departments and too much bureaucracy. Future generations may fail to enjoy the freedom and prosperity we have due to out-of-control government spending and crushing regulations. A combination of eliminating outdated and redundant programs and departments as well as allowing the private sector to perform certain needed duties will go a long way toward getting our country financially solvent.

4. Jobs and the Economy No new taxes. Period. Our problem is not enough revenue. Our problem is overspending and a failure of leadership in Washington. The burden of the federal government’s spending binge and mismanagement must not be upon hard-working American taxpayers. I will oppose any new taxes and higher taxes. A balanced budget, lower taxes (our corporate tax rate is among the highest in the world) and predictable regulatory environment will create a solid foundation for job growth and economic resurgence. One of the keys to reviving our economy is cutting our budget deficit. Our short-term and long-term fiscal viability is threatened due to continued deficit spending. Unfunded liabilities, projected spending increases and an uncertain economy all add up to a financial disaster if we fail to act responsibly now. Promoting free and fair trade, repealing or defunding Obamacare, repealing the Dodd-Frank Act and reigning in the EPA are just a few of the arenas where I will fight to get us back on the right path.

5. Education Competition promotes achievement, and parental choice leads to more involvement, understanding and skin in the game. Empowering the states to manage their education systems rather than the federal government is the best way to help our children become more competitive globally. I have no confidence in federal education programs where one-size-fits-all and social engineering are more important than the three Rs. The last thing we need is the federal government running our schools like they run our government. Expanding private school accessibility, lifting caps on charter schools, and expanding public school choice are the options that Tennessee families need to help their children receive the best education possible, and these are the education issues I will fight for as your Senator.

6. Energy We must drill offshore, drill domestically, curb the EPA and reform the permitting process for nuclear energy production. Taking these steps will help us become more energy independent from regions of the world that do not share our pro-freedom interests. We possess all of the energy resources we need right here in America, and it’s unacceptable that leaders in Washington have succumbed to environmental extremism, anti-capitalist legislation and political correctness and made us dependent on energy sources from other countries. The Department of Energy (DOE), enabled by liberal elected officials in Washington, has become the primary culprit for reducing our energy independence. The DOE has spent billions on researching alternative energy sources that are not commercially viable or cost effective. The federal government must not be in the business of picking winners and losers by funding risky companies such as Solyndra and Fisker with taxpayer dollars. That enables cronyism, and there’s enough of that in Washington already.

7. Family and Religion Marriage is under assault and should be defended as an institution that provides the best environment for creating strong families which leads to a successful culture and civilization. Marriage between a man and woman reduces the likelihood of child poverty by eighty-two percent. That is a sobering statistic–especially when every politician says they are interested in protecting children. Our culture has gotten off course, and the best way to build a strong America is by strengthening marriage in the home. If our federal government is really interested in a positive, healthy and prosperous country then our leaders must promote marriage and religious freedom. Our founders lived by Judeo-Christian beliefs and principles, and we must protect these core beliefs that shaped our nation and created the freest people in the world. I will focus on these areas as part of the first principles of personal responsibility and individual liberty.

8. Pro-Life I am 100% pro-life and my voting record reflects the same. As adoptive parents, my wife Ginny and I believe strongly in promoting adoption as well. I believe our self-evident rights, as enumerated in the Constitution, come from God—not from government, and that it’s the governments’ responsibility to protect our God-given rights. I believe those rights extend to the unborn.

9. Healthcare Repealing or defunding Obamacare is at the top of my priority list of things to accomplish as your Senator. This one watershed piece of legislation is wreaking more havoc on our economy while simultaneously reducing the quality of healthcare than any one piece of legislation in modern history. The last thing Tennesseans need is for the federal government to dictate their healthcare at the federal level. Healthcare decisions are best made between the patient, their physician and their family–not government bureaucrats. Skyrocketing government spending on Medicare is not helping patients. On the contrary, it’s harming our economic future. The effect of Obamacare is that it is driving hard-working doctors and nurses out of the healthcare profession. The inevitable result is a shortage of doctors who are unable to deliver affordable quality healthcare. Obamacare must be repealed.

10. Immigration I fully support immigration. America is the most generous country on earth when it comes to granting immigrants access to the American dream. However, illegal immigration is turning that dream into a nightmare as illegals stream over our southern border in search of both jobs and free benefits that are paid for by hard-working Americans. The Constitution requires the federal government to secure our borders, and too many of our leaders in Washington have not upheld their oath and funded border security. I will advocate funding border security, rejecting amnesty proposals and strengthening interior enforcement such as e-verify. For years Tennessee families have shouldered the costs of illegal immigration. I will take the experience and passion I have for protecting Tennesseans from illegal immigration to Washington as your Senator. We also must reform our immigration policy to ensure we are attracting the best and brightest minds around the world and protecting our citizens from individuals who want to harm us. A successful immigration policy begins with enforcement of existing laws and respect for the rule of law.

11. Taxes The top ten percent of earners pay seventy percent of federal income taxes. Under any definition, that’s unfair. For starters, we should lower the corporate tax and make Bush-era tax reform permanent. I believe in the flat tax and a tax environment that encourages and rewards initiative, investment, hard work and success.

12. Foreign Policy The essence of successful American foreign policy has always focused on protecting our best interests, supporting our allies and defending and promoting freedom. We must never agree to a treaty that diminishes our sovereignty, and we should impose strict criteria for granting foreign aid. We need to invest in peace by implementing the Reagan philosophy of building our military and economic strength. A powerful military and vibrant economy increases our standing in the world and the platform of freedom. War must always be our last resort. However, I agree with Thomas Jefferson that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”

13. Veterans My father was an Air Force fighter pilot, and he’s my hero. Our veterans sacrifice so much for our country, and we must provide them the best healthcare and support we can possibly give them. We will never be able to repay them for their sacrifices, but that reality must not stop us from doing our best to care for them and their families. [7]

—Joe Carr,

Involvement in Syria

According to a report by The Hill in September 2013, Carr was among four Republican Senate candidates who had come out against intervening in Syria, while the incumbent challenger, in this case Lamar Alexander, remained undecided.[8]

Presidential preference


See also: Endorsements by state officials of presidential candidates in the 2012 election

Joe Carr endorsed Newt Gingrich in the 2012 presidential election. [9]



See also: United States Senate elections in Tennessee, 2014

Carr ran in the 2014 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Tennessee. Incumbent Lamar Alexander defeated Carr in the Republican primary.[1]

U.S. Senate, Tennessee Republican Primary, 2014
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngLamar Alexander Incumbent 49.7% 330,088
Joe Carr 40.6% 269,169
George Flinn 5.2% 34,207
Christian Agnew 1.7% 11,203
John King 1.2% 7,876
Brenda Lenard 1.2% 7,697
Erin Magee 0.5% 3,412
Total Votes 663,652
Source: Results via Associated Press


Tennessee Republican primary
Poll Lamar Alexander Joe CarrGeorge FlinnOtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
Red Racing Horses (July 28-30, 2014)
Triton Polling (July 10-11, 2014)
AVERAGES 42% 32.5% 5.85% 4.5% 15.05% +/-3.95 749.5
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to
Tennessee Republican primary
Poll Lamar Alexander Joe CarrOtherUndecidedMargin of ErrorSample Size
North Star Opinion Research (May 12-14, 2014)
North Star Opinion Research (February 3-6, 2014)
Public Policy Polling (December 2-3, 2013)
North Star Opinion Research (August 19-22, 2013)
AVERAGES 57% 23.25% 2.75% 17% +/-4.25 547.75
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to


Carr was endorsed by the following people and organizations:

  • Upon announcing his entry into the race, Carr gained the endorsement of Tea Party Nation. The group's founder, Judson Phillips, said, "A conservative challenger has emerged to take on Lamar Alexander. His name is Joe Carr. We enthusiastically endorse Joe Carr in the Tennessee Republican Senate Primary."[10]
  • Nashville area talk show hosts Ralph Bristol and Michael DelGiorno from radio station 99.7 WTN[11]
  • Anti-Lamar PAC[12]
  • Beat Lamar[12]
  • The Coalition for a Constitutional Senate[12]
  • Laura Ingraham, conservative talk-radio host[13]
  • Sarah Palin[14]
  • Eagle Forum PAC[15]


Joe Carr's 2014 ad, "Crisis in America."

Joe Carr's 2014 ad, "Listens."
  • Joe Carr's ad, "Crisis in America," criticized Alexander for his stance on immigration.
  • Joe Carr's ad, "Listens," accused Alexander of working with Washington insiders, rather than for the people of Tennessee. The narrator said, "Lamar Alexander is listening to Washington, not Tennessee conservatives."


See also: Tennessee House of Representatives elections, 2012

Carr ran in the 2012 election for Tennessee House of Representatives, District 48. Carr defeated Ryan T. Harring in the August 2 primary election. He was unchallenged in the general election, which took place on November 6, 2012.[16][17]

Tennessee House of Representatives, District 48 Republican Primary, 2012
Candidate Vote % Votes
Green check mark transparent.pngJoe Carr Incumbent 76.3% 3,402
Ryan Harring 23.7% 1,055
Total Votes 4,457


See also: Tennessee House of Representatives elections, 2010

Carr was re-elected to the 48th District seat in 2010. He defeated Democrat David B. LaRoche in the general election on November 2, 2010. He was unopposed in the August 5 primary.[18][19]


See also: Tennessee House of Representatives elections, 2008

On November 4, 2008, Carr won election to the 48th District Seat in the Tennessee House of Representatives, defeating opponent Tim Tipps (D).[20]

Carr raised $38,226 for his campaign, while Heath raised $66,945.[21]

Tennessee House of Representatives, District 48 (2008)
Candidates Votes
Green check mark transparent.png Joe Carr (R) 13,968
Tim Tipps (D) 13,140

Campaign donors


Joe Carr (2014) Campaign Finance Reports
ReportDate FiledBeginning BalanceTotal Contributions
for Reporting Period
ExpendituresCash on Hand
April Quarterly[22]7/15/2013$0.00$205,479.00$(13,837.71)$191,641.29
July Quarterly[23]7/15/2013$191,641.29$100,225.00$(16,858.01)$275,008.28
October Quarterly[24]10/15/2013$275,008.28$52,276.98$(41,778.03)$285,507.23
Year-End[25]January 31, 2014$285,507$251,173$(131,530)$405,150
Running totals

Comprehensive donor information for Carr is available dating back to 2006. Based on available campaign finance records, Carr raised a total of $372,562 during that time period. This information was last updated on July 1, 2013.[26]

Joe Carr's Campaign Contribution History
Year Office Result Contributions
2012 Tennessee State House, District 48 Won $46,600
2010 Tennessee State House, District 48 Won $124,541
2008 Tennessee State House, District 48 Won $113,680
2006 Tennessee State House, District 48 Defeated $87,741
Grand Total Raised $372,562


Carr won re-election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2012. During that election cycle, Carr raised a total of $46,600.
Tennessee House of Representatives 2012 election - Campaign Contributions
Top contributors to Joe Carr's campaign in 2012
Joe PAC$14,200
Tennessee Association Of Realtors$2,250
Wine & Spirits Wholesalers Of Tennessee$1,500
Novartis Pharmaceuticals$1,400
Total Raised in 2012$46,600
Source:Follow the Money


Carr won re-election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2010. During that election cycle, Carr raised a total of $124,541.


Carr won election to the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2008. During that election cycle, Carr raised a total of $113,680.


Carr lost the election for the Tennessee House of Representatives in 2006. During that election cycle, Carr raised a total of $87,741.


See also: State legislative scorecards and State legislative scorecards in Tennessee

Legislative scorecards are used to evaluate elected public officials based on voting record. Some scorecards are created by political advocacy groups with a focus on specific issues, while others are developed by newspapers and are broad in scope. Scorecards are meant to be used as a tool for voters to have a quick picture of whether their views align with a particular legislator's record.

Because scorecards can be specific to particular issues or general to a state’s legislative term, for example, each report should be considered on its own merits. Each entity that publishes these reports uses different methodologies and definitions for the terms used.

An overview for scorecards in all 50 states can be found on this page. To contribute to the list of Tennessee scorecards, email suggestions to

Please see our writing guidelines if you would like to add results from an individual scorecard to this legislator's profile.


In 2013, the 108th Tennessee General Assembly, first year, was in session from January 8 to April 19. In 2014, the 108th Tennessee General Assembly, second year, was in session from January 14 to April 18.

  • Legislators are scored on their votes on key small business issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes relating to conservation and environmental issues.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes on animal protection bills.


In 2011, the 107th Tennessee General Assembly, first year, was in session from January 11 to May 21. In 2012, the 107th Tennessee General Assembly, second year, was in session from January 10 through May 1.

  • Legislators are scored on their votes on Pro-life legislation.
  • Legislators are scored on their votes relating to conservation and environmental issues.


Carr and his wife, Ginny, have three children.[27]

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See also

External links

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  1. 1.0 1.1 Associated Press, "Tennessee - Summary Vote Results," accessed August 7, 2014
  2. Politico, "Election 2014: Eric Cantor's loss jolts landscape," accessed July 28, 2014
  3. Washington Post, "Lamar Alexander draws primary challenger," accessed August 20, 2013
  4. The Associated Press, "State Rep. Joe Carr announces US Sen. Alexander challenge," August 16, 2013
  5. Project Vote Smart, "Joe Carr's Biography," accessed November 17, 2014
  6. Carr U.S. Senate, "Issues," accessed April 15, 2014
  7. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  8. Politico, "Senate primary challengers target GOP incumbents on Syria strikes," September 8, 2013
  9. Tennessean, "Gingrich campaign touts endorsements after losing a major one," March 5, 2012
  10. Conservative HQ, "Tea Party Nation Endorses Joe Carr: Race to Take Out Senator Lamar Alexander Building," August 21, 2013
  11. Carr for U.S. Senate, "Rep. Joe Carr Lands Pair of Early Key Endorsements in US Senate Race," August 22, 2013
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2, "TN tea party groups back Joe Carr for Senate, but not without dissent," October 1, 2013
  13. Politico, "Laura Ingraham backs Joe Carr," accessed July 16, 2014
  14. Newsmax, "Sen. Lamar Alexander Faces Tough Battle in Tenn. GOP Primary," accessed July 28, 2014
  15. The Hill, "OVERNIGHT CAMPAIGN: Lamar rises over Rocky Top," accessed July 30, 2014
  16. Tennessee Secretary of State, "2012 List of Candidates," accessed April 18, 2014
  17. Tennessee Department of State, "Election Results," accessed April 18, 2014
  18. Tennessee Secretary of State, "2010 Primary Election Official Results," accessed April 18, 2014
  19. Tennessee Secretary of State, "2010 Tennessee General election results," accessed April 18, 2014
  20. Tennessee Secretary of State, "2008 Tennessee General election results," accessed April 18, 2014
  21. Follow the Money, "General Election Results," accessed April 18, 2014
  22. FEC, "April Quarterly", accessed November 26, 2013
  23. FEC, "July Quarterly", accessed November 26, 2013
  24. FEC, "October Quarterly", accessed November 26, 2013
  25. Federal Election Commission, "Joe Carr Year-End," accessed February 14, 2014
  26. Follow the Money, "Carr, Joe," accessed July 1, 2013
  27. Carr U.S. Senate, "About," accessed April 15, 2014
Political offices
Preceded by
Tennessee House of Representatives District 48
Succeeded by
Bryan Terry (R)