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NASHVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney on Saturday turned back a tea party-styled challenge to win a fourth term in charge of the state GOP.

Devaney defeated former state Rep. Joe Carr of Murfreesboro in a 47-17 vote by the party's executive committee meeting on the floor of the state House.

"We're not always going to agree on every tactical issue," Devaney told the panel after the vote. "But I think we can agree on a lot of the core principles of the Republican Party, which are traditional values, personal responsibility, free markets, individual liberty."

Carr, who came up 9 percentage points short in his primary challenge to U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander in August, had said he was challenging Devaney because of "division within our party."

"For us to ignore it or to deny it doesn't have anything to do with the fact that it still exists," Carr said. "And that division needs unity."

Devaney in the weeks before the chairman's vote had decried Carr's refusal to endorse Alexander following the primary, saying it should be a disqualifying factor in the race to lead the party.

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