By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — 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 medial community over here, and it’s in peril because 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.
“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.
Note: The Carr campaign announcement news release is below.
News release from the Joe Car campaign:
Lascassas, TN – Rep. Joe Carr announced today his candidacy for the 4th Congressional district. The decision follows a successful exploratory phase chaired by prominent business leaders, Lee Beaman and Dr. Nate Schott. In just 6 weeks, Carr’s exploratory committee raised over $205,000 (nearly double the amount raised by incumbent Rep. Scott DesJarlais during the most recent filing period).
“Ginny and I are humbled by the outpouring of encouragement and financial support over the past several weeks. We are grateful for those who served on our exploratory committee and for so many friends who have demonstrated their confidence in me,” Carr stated.
“I am running for Congress because our country is in crisis and Tennesseans are hungry for strong, principled, conservative leadership. Our families face chronic unemployment and our leaders in Washington are taking us down a path of decay and financial ruin. Washington is paralyzed because our representatives are more interested in themselves than the people they represent. The Obama administration and their liberal allies in Washington continually assault our rights and freedoms
guaranteed by the Constitution. The only way to change the culture in Washington, is to change the men and women we send there,” Carr added.
Carr’s Exploratory Committee Chairman, Lee Beaman, praised the decision and pointed to Carr’s proven record in the state house as indicative of the strong, principled leadership he will bring to Washington.
“Rep. Carr led the fight to curb illegal immigration, abolish the death tax, protect the 2nd amendment and secure funding for the desperately needed MTSU science building,” Beaman stated. “Joe’s outstanding leadership in introducing and fighting for economic reforms in the General Assembly has helped Tennessee become the 4th most business friendly state in the nation. If there’s one thing I know about Joe Carr, it’s that he’s a proven conservative leader and fighter,” Beaman added. “He will shake
up Washington, DC.”
“I will lead with integrity and advance the conservative movement in Washington,” Carr promised. “I will continue fighting for the Constitution and the first principles that made our country great: personal responsibility, individual liberty, and limited government. Additionally, I will stand firm in defense of the 2nd amendment against the assault from the Obama administration. We must protect the gun rights of law abiding citizens; otherwise the rest of the Bill of Rights and our status as a free society will be in jeopardy.”
Rep. Carr, a 1981 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is a business consultant who helps companies become more energy efficient. Additionally, he and his wife Ginny own and operate Cedar Snag Farms in Lascassas.
He was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 and currently serves as Chairman of the Local Government subcommittee. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and member of the National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee Right to Life, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Athletic Association and supporter of Greenhouse Ministries. He is also an accomplished private pilot and member of the
Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association.
Rep. Carr has been married to Ginny for 30 years, and they have three children, Erin, Maddie and Joe, Jr. Ginny and Joe also have a grandson, Colby. He has lived in Rutherford County since he was a young boy and his family roots go back five generations in Rutherford County. Joe, Ginny and Joe Jr. are members of Believers Chapel in Murfreesboro.