There’s no perfect way to evaluate how a senator votes, but one metric I like is Progressive Punch’s Progressive Score vs. State Tilt. What this rating attempts to do is to compare the progressivism of members compared to what you’d expect considering what state they represent. Based on that, Sherrod Brown has the most progressive score and Chris Christie-appointed Jeff Chiesa has the least progressive score. Lamar Alexander ranks 72nd, slightly less progressive than Jeff Sessions and slightly more progressive than co-senator Bob Corker.

As I said, this isn’t a perfect measure, but it’s meaningful. And it means that Lamar Alexander is far from the most liberal member of the Republican caucus in the Senate. But Lamar is getting a primary challenge anyway.

Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr (R) announced Tuesday that he will challenge Sen. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) in the Republican primary.

On local radio, Carr said he was running because Alexander was “the most liberal” member of the state’s GOP delegation…

…A coalition of Tea Party groups published an open letter last week urging Alexander to “retire with dignity” rather than seek a third term.

“Unfortunately, our great nation can no longer afford compromise and bipartisanship, two traits for which you have become famous,” the letter read.

Back in 2011, Lamar quit his leadership position within the party.

“Stepping down from leadership will liberate me to spend more time working to achieve results on the issues I care the most about,’’ Mr. Alexander said in a Senate speech.

That decision probably was related to the debt ceiling fiasco. I am not sure if Lamar really has the desire to stay in the Senate but, so far, he’s given no indication that he plans to retire. In any case, he’s at least a moderate in the sense that he’s interested in legislating and knows that compromise is necessary. That doesn’t mean he votes like a liberal, though.

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