Carr joins bid to oust DesJarlais in GOP primary

Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 5:31pm

MURFREESBORO — State Rep. Joe Carr on Thursday joined state Sen. Jim Tracy in the race to oust embattled U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in next year's Republican primary.

Carr, a Murfreesboro business consultant, made his announcement from a balcony overlooking the Middle Tennessee Medical Center, which he said "represents some of the paralysis that has engulfed this county."

"We've got a state of the art medical community over here, and it's in peril because of one thing, and one thing only: and that's the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare," he said.


Carr said beyond his opposition to the federal health care law, his campaign would focus on supporting gun rights and tighter enforcement of immigration laws. Carr notably skipped a key vote on the so-called "guns in trunks" bill, which allows gun owners to store their weapons in cars, to raise money for his congressional bid.

"At the very least the immigration reform that is being touted by some of my colleagues in the Republican Party are premature," he said.

Carr's exploratory committee raised about $205,000 in the first quarter of the year. Meanwhile, Tracy's campaign reported last month that he had raised more than $436,000 in the first quarter, while DesJarlais raised $105,000.

DesJarlais, a Jasper physician, has struggled to raise money since winning re-election last year amid revelations that a phone call was recorded with him urging a patient with whom he was having an affair to seek an abortion.

The congressman denied during the campaign that he had recorded the call, but in his 2001 testimony he acknowledged that he did. DesJarlais said he was only trying to get her to admit she wasn't pregnant.

Carr cast himself as the outsider willing to take on the entrenched interests.

"Don't misunderstand me: This is going be difficult," he said. "Because who we're standing against ... is some of our Republican colleagues. We're standing against, in some respects, the establishment."

Carr acknowledged that more than one candidate in the primary could improve DesJarlais's chances, but predicted that conservative voters would come to embrace his positions.

Carr also said he was undaunted by Tracy's long list of endorsements and financial backers.

"I think what the voters are looking for is more than the same good old boy politics that we've become accustomed to," Carr said.

Tracy, a Shelbyville insurance agent and former college basketball referee, previously ran for Congress in 2010 before his county was moved from the 6th District as part of redistricting. 

6 Comments on this post:

By: JKennedyMD on 5/3/13 at 7:23

Let's ask Rep. Carr and Sen Tracy the following questions and see if they will answer them honestly:

- How would your voting record on the bills acted upon in Congress during the past 2 years differ from Representative Desjarlais's?
- How many times have you lusted for or desired sexual contact with someone other than your spouse? Jesus said that if I lust for someone in my heart, it is the same as if I did it in the flesh. Jimmy Carter admitted it; when will you?
- If the PPACA (Obamacare) is so terrible, what's your alternative that will actually work?
- When was the last time you allowed (or likely allowed) your alcohol level to rise upon 0.08, the legal limit for intoxication?
- When was your last use of marijuana or any illegal drug?
- When was the last time you used a prescription medication that belonged to another individual?
- Most people, particularly politicians, have secrets about their character defects and shortcomings. What are yours?

Let's see if they answer these questions completely, openly and with rigorous honesty.

By: pswindle on 5/3/13 at 9:47

Going from worst to worse.

By: ancienthighway on 5/3/13 at 10:58

What is the purpose of your questions JK?
As the bills you ask about have already been acted on, how Carr or Tracy would have voted is immaterial. You also seem to expect them to have an answer without having participated in the full debate in Congress or having a chance to study the bills.

What purpose is there in knowing whether someone lusted for another, but never acted on it?

As the position is at the Federal level, and Obamacare has already been voted into law, the only way Carr or Tracy, or whoever the Democrats put in the race would be able to influence any change is if the Supreme Court rules it unconstitutional. Carr and Tracy have a better shot of making any changes at the state level.

It's not illegal to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher. Just illegal to drive in that state. And with this question and the next two being "When was the last time..." you've already decided that they are "guilty" from the start. No matter what they say you will disbelieve.

And your last question about character defects and shortcomings...If anyone can say what they are, chances are they've already come up with a plan to minimize the effects or make corrections for them. If they have defects and shortcomings they don't recognize as such, then you receive no answer, even if you believe they are problems.

DesJarlais' seat is under contention because of the abortion incident. Yet, you ask nothing about abortion. Carr skipped a vote on guns in trunks to attend a fund raiser, yet you do nothing to ask about that. While it's true his vote was immaterial because of the supermajority, but what kind of signal does that send?

If you are going to ask questions, ask the right ones.

By: govskeptic on 5/4/13 at 7:05

Rep.Carr and Sen. Tracy have expertise in what? Certainly not in medicine or
ObamaCare which they speak of so often. The current Congressman has done
and voted exactly as he stated and ran on in 2012. The opposition and a couple
of bitter ex's (along with the press) will hopefully not influence enough voters to
make a couple of constant politicians, always with petty issues, a new primary winner.

By: jonw on 5/5/13 at 2:51

So govskeptic, only a MEDICAL graduate Congrassman should be concerned about medical policy? I guess only Ag graduates should vote on farm bills, engineers on TVA matters, ect.
Somewhere along the line just maybe, consumers should have a voice.

By: ancienthighway on 5/5/13 at 7:09

Come to think of it govskeptic, Obama has no background in medicine or health insurance. LaPierre has no background in constitutional law despite his reputed MA in government from Boston College according to the Wiki. Boston College from what I can tell doesn't have a graduate degree in government unless Political Science was meant, which isn't government. That doesn't stop either from being the focal point of ObamaCare or 2nd Amendment focused "cultural war" (LaPierre's words, not mine).