SaltsmanWhen TN State Representative Joe Carr announced he was leaving the TN-04 US House race to challenge Lamar Alexander for the US Senate, everyone understood there would be changes. WTN 99.7 host, Ralph Bristol, asked Carr how his staff had been impacted; how many of them were staying on?

Carr noted his current campaign manager and former chair of the Tennessee GOP, Chip Saltsman, had a previous commitment to Lamar Alexander and would, therefore, be leaving. He made no comment beyond that and allowed Saltsman the opportunity to make an awkward transition with grace and provided him cover from any accusation that his actions were unfair, ungrateful or disloyal. In short, Carr was classy.

Too bad Chip bailed. Had he stayed he might have learned something about being gracious and a statesman.

Saltsman released his own statement. Here is what it SHOULD have said:

I’d like to thank my friend Joe Carr for allowing me the honor of serving as his campaign manager.

With his announcement of his intention to run for the Senate, I find myself in an awkward place. While I believe both Lamar Alexander and Joe Carr would be excellent Senators for Tennessee, I can only support one of them.

Despite Joe’s years of service and commitment to Tennessee, I am of the opinion that Lamar Alexander would be a better choice. I will be supporting Lamar moving forward.

Joe deserves a 100% effort and 100% support from his staff in his campaign. As I cannot provide that, I must tender my resignation.

I look forward to the coming months as two fine Tennesseans work to make the state, and our nation, even better. See you on the campaign trail and at the ballot box next year, my friend.

Best of luck.


What Saltsman ACTUALLY said insulted not only the man who, until mere hours before, was paying his salary, it insulted almost every elected Republican along with most of the party apparatus in the state and the grassroots.

Saltsman’s factually challenged and demeaning screed, which essentially credits Lamar Alexander for every good political thing in Tennessee, including the sun rising this morning, can be read here. I’ll deal with just one of his statements. He said,

It is because of Lamar Alexander that people like you have the honor of serving in the majority of the state legislature.

The hubris, arrogance and ignorance of such a statement cannot be overstated. In fact, it will rightly be understood by many as indicative of the elitist attitude found inside many GOP circles.

Joe Carr didn’t do anything to be elected. None of his supporters or volunteers or donors did anything. Only Lamar. If I may be so bold as to draw an unflattering comparison, Saltsman’s insult is evocative of President Obama’s remark, “ If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Further, Saltsman’s words invoke the Tennessee GOP’s current super-majorities and lays credit for it at Lamar’s feet.

But I remember a guy named Ron Ramsey who believed Tennessee Republicans should work to elect Republicans. He went out and found people to run. He campaigned with and for them. He appeared with them, knocked doors, made calls, cut checks, supported and defended them. His PAC, RAAMPAC, made that happen.

I don’t recall there being a LAMPAC or an ALEXPAC working the state to elect Republicans to state office.

I’m calling political shenanigans, Chip. By my count, Ron Ramsey worked with a full 25% of GOP incumbents in both the House and the Senate to get them elected, including both Mike Faulk and Diane Black. I challenge you to name a single GOP candidate in the last 10 years of whom it can credibly be said that Lamar Alexander made a difference in his or her campaign to win a state legislative seat.

There are so many more you tossed under the bus as well.

What about the work of Beth Harwell, Jason Mumpower, Glen Casada and so many others?

What about the hundreds of thousands of hours and dollars ordinary Republicans and Tea Party activists put in?

Time and space forbid proper thanks and recognition.

It seems you feel all of that is worthless. Lamar Alexander is Tennessee’s savior. Your statement and your convictions are both contemptible and insulting to tens of thousands.

And if you are that wrong about something as readily verifiable as how Tennessee’s political make-up came about, why should I believe your assertions about Lamar himself are any less flawed?