NASHVILLE — With two Republicans already running against him, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., says he will kick off his 4th Congressional District campaign on Aug. 7 in Winchester, Tenn.
The announcement will come exactly a year before the 2014 Republican primary. The South Pittsburg physician faces challenges from Jim Tracy, a state senator from Shelbyville, and Joe Carr, a state representative from Lascassas.
"My first priority has always been to do my job in Congress, representing the people of Tennessee's Fourth Congressional District," DesJarlais said Wednesday in a news release.
"I do not believe that voters elect their leaders to run a perpetual campaign. However, I feel that one year from the primary is an appropriate time to start focusing on the 2014 election."
Asked for response, Carr said, "I guess my take on that is better late than never. It's going to be a spirited campaign. So far as we're concerned, one that's focused on the issues."
He criticized DesJarlais' recent vote for a major farm bill.
The congressman said he and his wife, Amy, are "are incredibly grateful" for strong support all across the 4th District."
"Tennesseans know they can count on me to never compromise on independent, conservative principles and that I will always fight for smaller government, less spending and more jobs," DesJarlais added.
The announcement will be on the steps of the Franklin County Courthouse.
DesJarlais was first elected in 2010. But the congressman, who has run as a staunch pro-life advocate, was rocked in 2012 and since by revelations showing he had encouraged a patient to seek an abortion in 2000.
Court documents from his divorce, released after his campaign last year, also show he concurred with his then-wife's decision to seek two abortions.
But the congressman has said that was more than a dozen years ago. DesJarlais has remarried. He has said he changed his life, believes God has forgiven him and has asked voters to do the same.
Tracy and Carr have outraised DesJarlais so far, but the incumbent said he plans a fundraising push. He said he is in the race to stay and win.
Meanwhile, Democrat Lenda Sherrell, of Monteagle, a retired CPA and Democratic activist, is weighing a bid.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550.
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, ...