More on DesJarlais in 2014: Don’t Count Him Out

In a Murfreesboro Daily News Journal column, Stephen Shirley discounts the prospectss of a successful challenge to 4th District Congressman Scott DesJarlais in the 2014 Republican primary.
DesJarlais has already said he intends to run in 2014. Any candidate who chooses to challenge him then will have to find the argument of why he or she is a better candidate than the incumbent.
Bill Ketron couldn’t find that opening earlier this year. Despite having pandered to right-wing extremists for two years, Ketron still couldn’t find any room to the right of DesJarlais. Tacking more to the center was never going to fly for the rabble-rousing state senator, so he skipped the chance to challenge a first-term incumbent introducing himself to a new district.
The obstacles for any challenger two years from now will only be steeper. DesJarlais will have had two years to introduce himself to his new constituents in the 4th District and to voters in Rutherford County. He will have two more years to build his campaign war chest with the fundraising advantage of being a sitting representative. And most importantly, the personal baggage of the divorce proceedings will be in the even more distant past and the explosive nature of the details have already proved to be a dud.
In 2014, there will be plenty of room to center from which to challenge DesJarlais. But since it will be a GOP primary, moderation will be an incredibly tough needle to thread for a challenger. A primary electorate convinced that President Obama lacks a valid birth certificate and that creeping Shariah poses a viable threat to the American way of life isn’t going to be interested in words such as bipartisanship and pragmatism.

Chris Carroll, meanwhile, has a story rounding up comments on DesJarlais’ future from GOP local leaders in his district:
County-level Republican Party leaders across the 4th Congressional District are split over supporting U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais if he seeks a third term in 2014.
On one hand, they take pride in proclaiming “the election is over” and praise their congressman for supporting conservative policies in Washington. On the other, they have a difficult time squaring DesJarlais’ anti-abortion, family-values platform with new details from his pre-political life.

And here’s an excerpt from the Tennessee Journal’s look at the situation:
DesJarlais isn’t likely to resign, but whether he’ll run again in two years is an open question. He’ll have a hard time raising campaign funds in Tennessee. And if Washington views his reelection chances as slim, political action committee cash will be hard to come by as well.
On the other hand, if he has multiple challengers, it is conceivable he could win the primary with a relatively small plurality. Tennessee does not have a runoff law. But then, despite having survived the general election this year, he might be vulnerable to a Democratic bid.

2 thoughts on “More on DesJarlais in 2014: Don’t Count Him Out

  1. Joanne Davis

    Do not count Congressman DesJarlais out because he is definitely in. He is in with his constituents which is the in place to be. I wonder if Chris Carroll lives in the 4th Congressional District represented by Scott DesJarlais. If not,he does not have the privilege of knowing what a great guy Scott is and how lucky we are in the 4th Congressional District to be represented by Congressman Scott DesJarlais.

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