State Senator Jim Tracy of Shelbyville released a list of early supporters as he announced his primary challenge to Congressman Scott DesJarlais. They include some of the top Republicans in state government, including Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, Senator Bill Ketron – who had been mulling a run of his own – and former Governor Winfield Dunn.
During a press conference, Tracy said DesJarlais is “preoccupied with his own personal scandals.” He tells WGNS radio that the recently re-elected Congressman should just step down.
“I did talk to Congressman DesJarlais. I let him know exactly what I’m doing. I was hoping he would do the right thing and resign. He has not, so I’m moving forward to run and I’m running to win.”
Tracy has some experience running for Congress. He also campaigned two years ago for the seat now occupied by Diane Black.
A crowded field is already emerging for 2014. Rep. Joe Carr of Rutherford County is exploring a run, as is Rep. Kevin Brooks of Cleveland and former Cracker Barrel executive Forrest Shoaf.
Voters heard many lurid details from DesJarlais’s messy divorce before November. They re-elected him anyway. Even Tracy says he pulled the lever for his opponent.
“A lot of the things we heard before the election were just conjecture.”
With court documents now released, Tracy says he’s convinced that DesJarlais was being less than truthful. Tracy says when he called DesJarlais Tuesday to let him know his intentions to run, the physician from Jasper responded by simply saying, “Happy New Year.”