Roll Call has an interesting piece on U.S. House Republicans planning their politicking for the upcoming August piece. And, not surprisingly, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has localized it – for Tennessee purposes, an attack on U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.
Here’s an excerpt from the Roll Call blog article: The August House Republican Conference planning kit, titled “Fighting Washington for All Americans,” offers a rare glimpse into the constituent outreach efforts of the GOP. Those efforts, it turns out, are highly calculated, hashtag-heavy and rife with references to the video app Vine.
The best way to stay in Washington appears to be to deride Washington, and Republican leadership isn’t going to deviate from that familiar formula.
Of the many topics Republicans could delve into — the impending debt ceiling debate, immigration or, perhaps, the sequester — the 31-page GOP packet focuses on safer ground: Obamacare, jobs and the fierce hatred of all things Washington.
It includes a cookbook of events largely aimed at whacking the Obama administration and highlighting House Republicans’ efforts to fight it — while using social media every step of the way.
There’s an “Emergency Health Care Town Hall,” for starters, with detailed recipes on where to hold the event, how to promote it — tweet it, Vine it, Instagram it, Facebook it — and how to hold an “impromptu” media availability to “frame the key takeaways.”
Riva Litman, the spokeswoman for Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, said it is the job of the House Republican Conference to equip members with “the tools and resources they need to take our message to all corners of this country.”
And here’s the DCCC DesJarlais-bashing press release:
A Democratic activist from Monteagle, Tenn., says she’s eyeing a potential run in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District in 2014, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Lenda Sherrell, a retired CPA who worked last year as a Tennessee volunteer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, said she is in a “very early exploratory” stage of seeing whether to run in the sprawling district, which takes in all or parts of 15 counties.
“Frankly, I’m just not far enough along to know for sure that’s what I’m going to do,” said Sherrell, who formerly lived and worked in Chattanooga. “But it’s a possibility.”
The district is now held by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., a South Pittsburg, Tenn., physician, who already faces GOP primary opposition in 2014 from two announced candidates — state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.
“I’m a wife, a mother and grandmother, all of my life I’ve spent a lot of my time volunteering in the community,” said Sherrell, who spent some three decades in Chattanooga where she worked for a local accounting firm and once served as the private McCallie School’s controller.
Jim Tracy leads in fundraising for the 4th Congressional District Republican primary with Rep, Joe Carr second and embattled incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais third, according to the Chattanooga TFP. State Sen. Tracy, R-Shelbyville, reported raising $303,000 from April 1 through June 30 while the embattled DesJarlais disclosed raising just $39,153. Carr, R-Lascassas, said he raised $100,255.
Both Tracy and DesJarlais’s net contributions were slightly lower after refunds to contributors. Tracy’s net was $296,393, while DesJarlais, a Jasper physician, netted $35,155.
Tracy also dominates in cash on hand with $656,201. That’s seven times as much as DesJarlais’ $88,361. Carr reported $275,000 in cash on hand.
The financial stakes are a little higher today in Tennessee’s 4th District, where state Sen. Jim Tracy had another big-money fundraising quarter and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is keeping his campaign fundraising data close to the chest.
Further from Chris Carroll: In a Wednesday news release that calls DesJarlais “the embattled incumbent,” Tracy, a Shelbyville Republican, said he raised $303,000 between April and June. The announcement came several days before the deadline for federal candidates to file detailed campaign finance reports with the government.
DesJarlais and another 4th District Republican challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas, declined requests to provide their second-quarter hauls and said to expect numbers on the July 15 deadline. That represents a departure from last quarter, when Carr was first to release his $200,000 haul well ahead of the final day to do so.
In a phone interview, Tracy said he has $656,000 left after expenses.
In the year’s first fundraising quarter, Tracy doubled Carr’s haul and held a 4-to-1 cash-on-hand lead over DesJarlais. At the end of March, DesJarlais reported $87,000 on hand and Carr had $192,000 left.
“I will not be outworked in this race,” Tracy said.
A column distributed to media by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District:
Folks across my district universally support providing their children with a good education. Educating our children strengthens our communities, creates and supports jobs, and boosts our economic competitiveness in the global market and at home. As long as parents, teachers, administrators and other state and local actors are offered the ability to hold their educational systems accountable, our schools will be robust and our children will thrive.
Unfortunately, ongoing actions by the President are threatening to take over what we teach our kids. Our schools, and the teachers and administrators that make them work, are being shut out by a program known as Common Core.
Common Core began as a vision by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2007 to bring about uniform “American standards” to schools. After pledging $60 million towards the goal, these groups worked with the National Governors Association (NGA) and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) to develop and implement these standards. They found a strong ally in President Obama.
Talk of U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ involvement in abortions and sex with patients have become more prominent in the media lately, but his challengers in next year’s Republican primary say they don’t foresee using the reports in negative campaigning, reports Chris Carroll. State Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, are challenging DesJarlais in next year’s 4th District Republican primary.
The second-term incumbent, a physician fined $500 last week by the state’s medical board, continues to battle charges of unethical behavior. According to the board’s findings, he had sex with two of his patients in 2000. Ten years later, he successfully campaigned as an anti-abortion advocate. Then in 2012, documents turned up showing he encouraged his ex-wife to get two abortions in the 1990s.
Voters last year knew about the Jasper Republican’s sex with patients and re-elected him. But they only found out about the abortion revelations after Election Day, meaning Carr and Tracy have the first crack at painting DesJarlais as a hypocrite.
To hear the challengers tell it, though, this is just your average Republican primary. In a recent interview, Carr said he “despises” and “loathes” negative campaigning. Those statements came a day after he hired Chip Saltsman, a GOP strategist known for his work in the political dark arts.
“We’re not running a campaign based on what happened to the congressman 12 or 14 years ago,” Carr said last week. “That’s not why we’re in this race.”
Tracy? For now, equally dismissive when asked about DesJarlais’ struggles.
“I’m focused on what I call a grass-roots, issue-oriented campaign — Benghazi, the IRS and restoring the public’s trust in government,” Tracy said. “People will be able to tell the difference between me and Congressman DesJarlais.”
Former Rep. Zach Wamp said it’s admirable — but probably unrealistic — to think that both candidates will uphold their positive pledges. Victory means everything, he said, and desperate candidates go to desperate lengths to get there.
“None of this means their campaign operatives are not planting seeds everywhere they go to try to raise the negatives of the incumbent while publicly touting their own positive platform,” Wamp said.
Wamp predicted that, throughout the campaign, debate moderators, media organizations and the challengers’ supporters will air DesJarlais’ troubles without Carr and Tracy ever lifting a finger.
“They’ll want to be as clean and positive as they possibly can be,” Wamp said, “and these revelations already will be on the table.”
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a licensed physician, was reprimanded and fined by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners for having sex with patients before he was elected to Congress, according to documents released Thursday.
The Republican won re-election last year despite revelations he had affairs with patients and once urged one of them to seek an abortion.
He was fined $500 for two counts of unprofessional conduct, and is responsible for up to $1,000 in costs for the panel’s investigation. He did not contest the findings
The ruling comes in response to two complaints filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), which called the penalties “piteous.”
“This decision demonstrates that Tennessee’s ban on sexual exploitation of patients is essentially meaningless,” Melanie Sloan, the group’s executive director, said in a statement. “Doctors in the Volunteer State can freely prey on patients with little fear of repercussions.”
The watchdog group has also filed an ethics complaint in the U.S. House.
DesJarlais did not immediately return a message seeking comment from The Associated Press. But the congressman told The Tennessean newspaper: “I take responsibility for past mistakes and am happy to get this resolved.”
DesJarlais nevertheless called the complaint politically motivated, saying it’s “somewhat ironic” that he had gone without any complaints filed against him in the 20 years he practiced before his election to Congress.
DesJarlais has already drawn two Republican challengers in advance of next year’s primary. State Sen. Jim Tracy and state Rep. Joe Carr have far outraised the incumbent through the first quarter of the year.
During his 2010 and 2012 campaigns, DesJarlais tried to cast doubt on reports of violent behavior and multiple affairs before his divorce was finalized in 2001. But court transcripts released the week after the election showed he admitted to eight affairs, encouraged a lover to get an abortion, which he publicly opposes, and used a gun to intimidate his ex-wife during an argument.
The sworn testimony also revealed for the first time that the congressman had agreed when his ex-wife had two abortions.
— Note: The CREW press release is below.
U.S. Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. is getting a lot of opinions from a lot of people as he weighs the pros and cons of taxing items purchased over the Internet, according to Michael Collins. Gov. Bill Haslam wants states to have the power to collect the tax, arguing it is money that is already owed. Some small businesses in Duncan’s Knoxville-based congressional district take the same position and say it’s a matter of fairness: They already are required by law to collect the tax and send it to the state, but out-of-state online retailers are not.
Calls to Duncan’s congressional offices, on the other hand, are running roughly 12 to 1 against Internet tax legislation pending in Congress. Even his own staff is divided. A couple of his close advisers are encouraging him to support the bill. Another argues it amounts to a tax increase and that he should vote no.
“I’m feeling a lot of pressure from both sides of this bill,” the Knoxville Republican conceded this week.
So where does he stand? “I don’t know,” Duncan said. “I’m still thinking about it.”
He’s not alone. The three other East Tennesseans in the U.S. House — Reps. Phil Roe of Johnson City, Scott DesJarlais of Jasper and Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah — all said they are undecided about the bill known as the Marketplace Fairness Act. All three congressmen are Republicans.
“From a fairness standpoint, your small local retailers are at a disadvantage and, right now, frankly, you do owe that tax,” Roe said. “The flip side of that is, hey, this is a foul. Nobody wants to pay more taxes.”
Tennessee’s two U.S. senators — Republicans Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker — both voted for the bill when it cleared the U.S. Senate earlier this month on a 69-27 vote.
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.
By Erik Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State Sen. Jim Tracy has raised more than four times as much as the embattled congressional incumbent he is challenging in the Republican primary next year.
According to campaign disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission on Monday, Tracy raised more than $436,485 in the first quarter, compared with U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais’ net of $104,532.
DesJarlais, a Jasper physician, won a second term in November despite revelations that he once urged a patient with whom he was having an affair to get an abortion.
Transcripts released after the election revealed that DesJarlais made a mutual decision with his first wife to have two abortions.