Rand Paul’s Lamar Alexander ad appearance not an endorsement

Rand Paul appeared in an ad for Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, but don’t confuse that with an endorsement, the Kentucky Republican senator’s aides told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

“The footage that Sen. Alexander’s campaign is using is from a public press conference in regards to a bill they both co-sponsored,” spokesman Sergio Gor told the Chattanooga paper. “At this time Senator Paul has not made an endorsement in this race.” (RELATED: Lamar Alexander features Rand Paul in early ad)

Conservative groups in Tennessee have been rumbling about a Republican primary challenge against Alexander, who will seek a third term in 2014. They are angry with Alexander’s support for the Gang of Eight immigration bill, the online sales tax and the fiscal cliff deal.

Paul voted differently from Alexander on all of these issues.

A June fundraising email by the Senate Conservatives Fund listed Alexander as one of three Republicans the group would target if “strong, conservative challengers emerge.”

No Alexander challenger has come forward, but Glenn Jacobs — the professional wrestler better known as Kane — has expressed some interest in the race. Jacobs is a libertarian who has been supportive of the Pauls.

The footage of Paul and Alexander was taken from a joint public appearance on behalf of the Freedom to Fish Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law last month.

But Paul’s prominent role in the commercial was seen as a preemptive strike against any tea party challenger thinking of taking on Alexander. “Nobody wants to say no to Lamar Alexander,” Paul says in the ad.

The ad is currently running on television and radio statewide as part of a six-figure buy.

“Sometimes we don’t agree,” Alexander said of Paul to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “but I respect his point of view and he respects mine.”

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