Tracy eyes another run at DesJarlais

State Sen. Jim Tracy says he is weighing another challenge to U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the 4th Congressional District’s GOP primary next year after his heart-stopping 38-vote loss to the South Pittsburg physician in 2014, reports the Times-Free Press.

“I’ve thought about it and I’ve had a lot of folks contact me in the district over the last few months,” the Shelbyville senator said in an interview. “I’m going to look at it.”

Noting he is in the midst of a “busy” legislative session, Tracy said he’s in no hurry to make an immediate decision. “We’re going to evaluate it, talk to my family. You know, I made a lot of inroads last year running, built a pretty good base. Got a lot of people to help me. Came within 38 votes.”

The senator said he’d been invited to Saturday’s Lincoln Day Dinner hosted by the Bradley County Republican Party and planned to attend. Much of Bradley is in the sprawling, largely rural 4th District, which takes in all or parts of 15 counties and stretches from Bradley in the east to Rutherford County in the west. Tracy won Bradley handily in 2014.

The 2014 primary battle drew national attention as Tracy sought to oust the scandal-plagued DesJarlais, considered one of the most vulnerable Republicans nationwide at the time.

That was the result of 2012 revelations that abortion opponent DesJarlais had had extramarital affairs with patients and co-workers, urging one patient to get an abortion and going along with his former wife’s decision to have two abortions.

DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson said in a statement Friday that “with a close election and health issues behind him, the congressman feels he is in the strongest position yet to champion conservative principles and Tennessee values in Washington.”

DesJarlais was treated during and after the campaign for lymphoma, a cancer.