NASHVILLE - Republican U.S. Senate candidate Joe Carr raised just $52,000 in the third quarter for his tea party-backed GOP primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.
Carr's campaign released the July 1 through Sept. 30 figures hours after Carr went on a Nashville-based conservative talk radio show and said he had raised "a little less than $100,000, I believe."
There was no immediate explanation for the wide disparity.
Alexander reported he raised nearly $838,000 during the third quarter and has $2.8 million in his campaign war chest. Carr, who switched his sights from a 4th Congressional District campaign to the Senate in August, reported having $285,000 in cash on hand as of Sept. 30.
Speaking on Wednesday with WTN-FM's talk radio host Ralph Bristol, Carr sought to blame the lackluster showing on the switch from the 4th Congressional District's GOP primary to the Senate contest.
He said he had been focused on making the transition from the congressional to the Senate campaign in August and spent September successfully working to get endorsements from two anti-Alexander groups, including Beat Lamar.
The candidate, whose campaign ignored Times Free Press requests for figures on Tuesday, the reporting deadline, told Bristol "we certainly didn't do as well as" Alexander.
"I don't have an exact figure, but it was a little less than $100,000, I believe," Carr said.
Carr spokeswoman Hillary Pate later said in a statement that "winning the support of Tennessee grassroots conservatives was our focus these past months - and we hit it out of the park, earning the endorsement of both the Beat Lamar organization and the Coalition for a Constitutional Senate, an informal coalition of 63 tea party and Liberty groups."
Pate said "now we're are going to build on that grass-roots foundation and turn our focus to fundraising - I'm confident we will have a stellar fourth quarter."
Alexander has raised some $3.9 million this year but has spent money to run ads on radio and TV in efforts to inoculate himself from criticisms by national tea party groups and Carr.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550.