Staff Photo by Laura-Chase McGehee/Chattanooga Times Free Press U.S. Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., left, campaigns for Tennessee's 4th Congressional District candidate Scott DesJarLais, right, in an appearance at the Mountain City Club on Wednesday afternoon.
The No. 2 Republican in the U.S. House said Wednesday that Jasper physician Scott DesJarlais "has risen to national prominence" as one who could unseat Democrat Lincoln Davis in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District and help the GOP regain control of at least one chamber of Congress.
Minority Whip Eric Cantor, R-Va., said the success of Republican challengers such as DesJarlais will provide a check on the "unfettered agenda to expand government" by President Barack Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress.
"People are suffering under tough economic times, and this country is expecting a change and a government that listens to them again," Cantor said during a campaign fundraiser for DesJarlais in Chattanooga.
"The policies of (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi and President Obama have put this country on a path where most people don't recognize it," he said.
Cantor is among seven top or emerging Republican leaders in the U.S. House who are stumping for DesJarlais. Others include House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio; Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.; Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga.; Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Rep. Phil Roe, R-Tenn.; and Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill.
DesJarlais said he wants to talk about issues, "but all my opponent can offer up is mudslinging and dirty politics, and we just didn't see this as an opportunity for him to start talking about issues."
Davis is seeking his fifth term in Congress. A member of the conservative Blue Dog Democrats, he has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, National Right to Life and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But Cantor said Davis "has put his lot in with Nancy Pelosi" and voted in favor of the $787 billion stimulus plan last year as well as union-backed "card check" legislation to make it easier to organize workers in a labor union.
"That is pretty extreme if you look at what most people in this district want," Cantor said.
Today is the last day to vote early before Tuesday's election.
Hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Election Commission, 700 River Terminal Road
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at:
* Brainerd Recreation Center, 1010 N. Moore Road
* Northgate Mall, next to Science Theater
* Eastwood Church, 430 Ooltewah-Ringgold Road
Source: Hamilton County Election Commission
Speaking at a Democratic rally Tuesday night in Warren County, Davis insisted he listens to and meets with his constituents and is willing to debate his opponent.
"You know who I am and you know what I stand for," Davis said.
Davis also objected to what he said are unregulated outside groups possibly spending more than $1 million to defeat him.
Federal Election Commission filings show Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which was started by former Bush campaign manager Karl Rove and others, spent $272,100 to produce and air ads opposing Davis.
"We have Karl Rove and his group coming in. Nobody knows where the money comes from," Davis said, warning of direct, secret contributions from "Corporate America" and "wealthy entrepreneurs."
Earlier this month, two watchdog groups, the Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21, asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether Crossroads GPS was violating U.S. tax requirements regarding nonprofit groups by its involvement in elections.
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Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...