attended his rally Saturday.
"It was a great afternoon. Of course I respect the First Amendment rights of those who disagree," he said.
In an interview, Haslam said he doesn't now see Alexander having a significant challenger.
"I hear all the talk, but I think Lamar has a solid record and I don't quite see where the challenge would come from given the support he has and his record," Haslam said.
Ramsey recently told reporters he gets "a dozen emails a week asking me to run."
"The Tea Party groups are out there looking for an opponent, and I think they'll have a hard time finding one against Lamar," Ramsey said.
Alexander recently began airing an ad featuring his legislation blocking U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' attempts to halt fishing below Corps-operated dams during water releases.
That included a news clip from U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., a co-sponsor, speaking favorably about Alexander. Paul aides later said it wasn't a specific endorsement of Alexander's re-election bid and Alexander said he hasn't asked for an endorsement.
The special guest at Alexander's Saturday "salute" to Middle Tennessee county Republican chairmen was former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who won Tennessee's 2012 GOP presidential primary with the help of Christian conservatives.
Huckabee told attendees he considers Alexander "one of the best friends I've got in politics."
He described Alexander as "someone who knows how to govern," who "led this state [as governor] to some of its most significant achievements in business and industry," and who helped people understand the importance of education.
Critics line up
Tea party groups have plenty of gripes about Alexander, from his 2009 decision to confirm Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor to his support of immigration overhaul and for cosponsoring a bill allowing states to collect taxes on Internet sales.
Explaining his yes vote on Sotomayor, Alexander noted he objected in 2005 when Democrats filibustered President George W. Bush's Supreme Court nominee, John Roberts. He said he was being consistent with his 2005 stance.
On the sales tax issue, Alexander has portrayed himself as supporting states' rights.
During Saturday's event, West outlined those votes, asking attendees to "find [Alexander] innocent of being a progressive Republican or guilty of being a RINO."
"Guilty!" the crowd roared as each vote was described.
Tea party critics cite Alexander's low rankings by five conservative groups on positions they support.
But the Alexander campaign cites a conservative voting record, such as an A ranking from the National Rifle Association and 100 percent ratings from National Right to Life and the National Federation of Independent Business.
The campaign says in 2012, Congressional Quarterly found Alexander voted with the majority of Republican senators 83 percent of the time.
Tested in fire
Last week, Alexander and others discussed a new book by a one-time aide, Keel Hunt.
It lays out the fateful six or so hours in January 1979 when Alexander and powerful Democrats all reluctantly agreed that Alexander, who'd won the 1978 election, should be sworn in three days early to prevent then-Democratic Gov. Ray Blanton from signing additional pardons in the midst of a clemency-for-cash scandal.
That experience helped frame his two terms in office and approach to governing, Alexander said.
"It would be good for the country if every United States senator serving today had a six-hour boot camp like I had for how to get along. ... The country would be better off," Alexander said.
Norm Ornstein, a scholar with the conservative American Enterprise Institute said Alexander "has always been viewed as one of those guys who is a problem solver looking for ways to work with others."
But it's clear, Ornstein noted, that "he's in some fear of being primaried."
At Saturday's tea party rally, Kookogey didn't say he would be a candidate, but he had plenty of criticism for the senator.
"Lamar Alexander has failed in faithfulness to his oath and he must answer for it," he said.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550.
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