CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Republican Jim Tracy on Thursday picked up the endorsement of Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland in his primary challenge to U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District race.
"If you tried to design a candidate who would be a perfect candidate to represent us in Congress, it would be Jim Tracy," said Rowland, Cleveland's longest-serving mayor.
The mayor said he has known and worked for years with Tracy, a state senator and chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. The two also serve on the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, a policy analysis agency.
He said Tracy, who is from Shelbyville, Tenn., has been "tremendously responsive of our needs" and "worked along with our outstanding legislative delegation here in Bradley County to get so many projects done."
Rowland noted that the Cleveland portion of Bradley County was moved from the 3rd District to the 4th District during the 2012 redistricting.
"I like Scott so far as personality, but he hasn't just been here like we're accustomed to," Rowland later said of DesJarlais, who is seeking his third term. He said he believes Tracy can help as local officials push for a new Interstate 75 interchange and other improvements.
"If he's just partially as responsive as he's been as a state senator, we're going to be blessed to have a congressman in the 4th District that we can contact, that we can talk to and we can get answers. He's not just a listener," Rowland said.
His announcement came at the opening of Tracy's campaign headquarters in Cleveland.
Tracy told the crowd of some 25 to 30 supporters that "this means so much to me and my campaign, the reputation you have here in Cleveland and statewide."
Among those attending the event were state Rep. Kevin Brooks; state Rep. Eric Watson, who is Bradley County Republicans' nominee for sheriff; Bradley County Mayor D. Gary Davis; 10th Judicial District Attorney Steve Crump; and others.
The primary election is Aug. 7. The winner will face Democrat Mary Headrick.
Contact staff writer Andy Sher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-255-0550.