Kookogey abandons GOP challenge of Sen. Alexander

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Tea party activist Kevin Kookogey says he is abandoning plans to run against incumbent U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in next year's Republican primary.

Kookogey, a former Williamson County Republican Party chairman, tells the Chattanooga Times Free Press that his months-long preparations to challenge Alexander were sidetracked by state Rep. Joe Carr's decision to get into the race two weeks ago.

Kookogey's original plan was to announce his candidacy on Wednesday. But he said he doesn't want to inadvertently help Alexander win the GOP nomination by having several candidates dilute the tea party vote.

Carr had been a candidate to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais before switching races to instead take on Alexander last month.

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