Tennessee state Rep. Joe Carr (R) announced Tuesday that he will challenge Sen. Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderSenate backs equal pay for female soccer players Overnight Healthcare: Momentum on mental health? | Zika bills head to conference | Only 10 ObamaCare co-ops left Overnight Regulation: GOP slams new Obama education rules MORE (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.
Carr said that while he was in a "genuine position" to defeat DesJarlais, many supporters had urged him to challenge Alexander instead.
Conservatives have long warned of a coming challenge to Alexander, but Carr is the first to enter the race.
A coalition of 20 Tennessee Tea Party and conservative 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.
The coalition criticized Alexander for his willingness to work with "those who are actively undermining [conservative] values."
Alexander responded to the letter in a Tuesday editorial in the Tennessean defending his record in the Senate.
"I appreciate the suggestion, but if the people of Tennessee will allow it, I’d rather continue to serve — hopefully, with dignity," he wrote.
In the op-ed, Alexander touts his work as governor of the state, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee's (R ) support and his efforts to protect fishing rights and keep student loan rates low, among others.
Alexander is only the latest prominent GOP senator to face a conservative primary challenge. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellIn House GOP, Ryan endorsement of Trump seen as inevitable McConnell: Trump White House will have ‘constraints’ Nearly 400 House bills stuck in Senate limbo MORE (Ky.) and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSenators to Obama: Make 'timely' call on Afghan troops levels Senate amendments could sink email privacy compromise Trump: Romney 'walks like a penguin' MORE (S.C.) are also facing primary foes.
According to The Tennessean, other potential challengers to the Tennessee senator include Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and former Williamson County Chairman Kevin Kookogey. Local activists will vet potential challengers next month.
Updated at 2 p.m.