Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, speaks outside the Senate chamber in Nashville, Tenn., on Monday, Feb. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Erik Schelzig)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Sen. Bill Ketron said Monday he will not seek the new 4th Congressional District seat in Tennessee because of family obligations and unfinished business in the state Senate.
The Murfreesboro Republican said after his father died 11 months ago, his father "made a promise to him that I would take care of my mother, my family and the business that he started 43 years ago."
Ketron said he also wants to ensure the proper implementation of legislation he sponsored, such as a new controversial law that requires voters to show a state or federal photo ID at the polls before they can vote.
"That's going to take some time this year," he said.
Ketron added that if he did run for the congressional seat, raising money for his campaign would be tough because he'd more than likely have to catch up to the other candidates.
"I'd be on the phone right now," he said. "I'd have to raise $850,000 between now and August. That would take away time from people electing me to come up here."
This is Ketron's tenth year in the General Assembly, representing Maury, Lincoln, Rutherford and Marshall counties. Other legislative proposals that have drawn attention to Ketron include:
— Requiring all driver's license exams be given in English.
— Having the state study creating its own currency in the event of a breakdown of the Federal Reserve.
— A proposal that initially sought to make it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah, but was amended to remove references to religion.
— Requiring presidential candidates prove they were born in this country.
As chairman of the Republican Caucus, Ketron said he also wants to make sure his GOP colleagues are re-elected, and maybe even "pick up one or two more seats as well."
"That's my job," he said.
Ketron's decision not to seek the 4th District seat leaves U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais unchallenged at this point in a Republican primary. Democratic Sen. Eric Stewart of Belvidere has said he will run for the seat.
Ketron said he plans to work with DesJarlais.