State Rep. Joe Carr tells the Daily News Journal that state law prevents him from seeking reelection to his state House District 48 seat while he’s running for Congress – along with incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and state Sen. Jim Tracy.
Tracy is in the middle of a four-year Senate term and thus can run for Congress without giving up his seat in the Legislature. The article notes this and also quotes Carr as otherwise contrasting himself with Tracy.
An excerpt: Carr confirmed he was not seeking re-election to the Tennessee General Assembly a couple of days after Rutherford County Commissioner Adam Coggin announced candidacy for the 48th District seat.
Carr said that he talked to Coggin and two others about their interest in succeeding him as a GOP lawmaker in Nashville.
“It will be a contested primary,” Carr said. “I hope the House 48th District is a referendum on my job performance and the way I conducted myself.”
…”Does the district want a fighter like I’ve tried to be for them or do they want somebody who is more of a compromiser?” Carr asked. “I am interested to see if the voters of the 48th are going to put in somebody who is committed to being that vocal principled fighter or do they want somebody who is more of a get along, go along type of legislator? That’s the choice. I am interested in seeing what choice they make, but I will not be on the ballot as a state representative.”
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.
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.”
News release from Joe Carr campaign:
Lascassas, TN- Rep. Joe Carr announced today that veteran GOP strategist Chip Saltsman has joined his team in his bid to win the GOP primary in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district. The announcement follows Carr’s recent entrance into the race earlier this month and a highly successful fundraising period.
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).
“We are excited that Chip will lead our team,” Carr stated. “Chip brings significant firepower and experience to our campaign. His excellent track record of managing both statewide and national campaigns is invaluable. Chip is a leader and proven winner in the conservative movement. I’m thankful for his friendship and for the opportunity to serve with him to advance the conservative principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility and state sovereignty that are among the pillars of American exceptionalism.”
University of Tennessee President Joe DiPietro defended the Knoxville campus’s spring “Sex Week” program under critical questioning Thursday from state Sen. Stacey Campfield in a legislative hearing.
“In my professional opinion, it is very, very important on a university campus to have some sex education going on,” DiPietro told the Knoxville Republican at one point, adding that if a single unwanted pregnancy or sexual assault was prevented as a result, that would justify the program.
“I have to go back to the First Amendment,” he said. “I have a professional obligation to preserve the First Amendment. I’m sorry.”
Campfield replied that he, too, supports freedom of speech under the First Amendment, but the issue is “forcing students to pay for speech they find objectionable.” He cited as an example a “transgender cross-dressing show” during the April week of events.
“If someone wants to dress up like a duck, God bless them. But I shouldn’t have to pay for it,” said Campfield.
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.
From the News Sentinel website:
Federal and local authorities seized 19 horses from a Blount County stable of a walking horse show trainer Thursday on suspicion that the animals have been subjected to the practice known as “soring.”
The trainer, Larry Joe Wheelon, 68, is charged with one felony count of animal cruelty, with additional charges pending, according to the Humane Society of the United States.
The seizure came a week after U.S. Department of Agriculture agents and Blount County authorities executed a search and seizure warrant at Wheelon’s barn on Tuckaleeche Pike in response to an anonymous tip.
Authorities returned Thursday to remove the 19 horses, which were visibly in pain, including several that were barely able to stand.
Investigators suspect the horses’ injuries were caused by soring — the application of caustic chemicals and painful devices to their hooves and legs used to produce the artificial, high-stepping “Big Lick” gait.
“It’s a significant number of horses to get to safety,” said Leighann McCollum, Tennessee director for HSUS. “Horses that will never have to endure that again — hopefully.”
The Blount County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to All Animals and Horse Haven of Tennessee assisted in removing the horses to an undisclosed location, McCollum said. The Blount County Sheriff’s Office also provided security during the seizure.
Wheelon is an active director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Trainer’s Association and sits on its ethics committee, according to the Humane Society. Since 1993, he has been cited by inspectors 15 times for violations of the federal Horse Protection Act. Wheelon was booked into the Blount County Justice Center Thursday in lieu of $5,000 bond.
Former Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown, who recently lost his syndicated television courtroom over a contract dispute with CBS, may seek the U.S. Senate seat now held by Republican Lamar Alexander, reports The Commercial Appeal.. That’s what the flamboyant Brown, whose 15-year stint as a television judge ends next month, told The Hollywood Reporter recently. According to the publication, the judge “says he also is considering offers to get involved in politics, which could include a run for the U.S. Senate from Tennessee.”
A business partner responding to a text message at his newly created Milwaukee-based company Celebritunity, who identified himself as A-Sun Truth, said that Brown, 65, was not immediately available Tuesday.
Tennessee State Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, said Brown told him Tuesday he was not ready to confirm a bid, but passed along this quote from the judge: “All aspects concerning the ‘Campaign For Justice’ will be revealed in due time.”
As a television judge, media reports indicate Brown was paid somewhere between $5 million and $20 million in recent years for his daytime arbitration-based reality show. That could mean a self-financed run for Brown against Alexander, 72, a former two-term governor and former U.S. Secretary of Education seeking his third six-year term in the senate.
Brown maintains an active Shelby County Election Commission voter registration with an address in Germantown. He should not be confused with the Memphis City Council member with the same first and last name.
Union University political science department chairman Dean F. Evans in Jackson. Tenn., said he had not heard of Brown as a potential Senate candidate, and suggested his campaign might be an uphill fight.
— Note: For more, see Jackson Baker’s piece on Judge Joe.
After long and contentious debate Monday night, the House joined the Senate in approving legislation that clears the way for a new moonshine distillery in Gatlinburg and a whiskey distillery in Chattanooga.
The bill (SB129) also allows new distilleries to locate in other cities that have approved liquor-by-the-drink and liquor package stores. Under a prior law enacted in 2009, only county governments – not cities – were allowed to authorize distilleries.
Sponsor Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas, said the measure originated with Chattanooga officials desire to have a brand called Chattanooga Whiskey, now made in Indiana, manufactured in its namesake city even though Hamilton County has not authorized distilleries.
It was expanded to allow a new moonshine distillery, Sugarlands, to locate in Gatlinburg, even though local officials have turned down its application and make what Carr called “cleanup” revisions to state alcoholic beverage laws. Gatlinburg already has Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery operating near the site of the proposed Sugarlands distillery, which counts Nashville lobbyist David McMahan as a minority investor.
Thirteen amendments were filed on the House floor to change the bill. Only one was adopted, but that will send the bill back to the Senate for concurrence. The adopted amendment, proposed by Carr, says a distillery cannot be located within 2,000 feet of a church or school – unless the local government having jurisdiction decides to set a shorter limit. That is the same rule that now applies to beer sales, Carr said.
One of the rejected amendments, filed by Rep. Jeremy Faison, R-Cosby, would have had the effect of blocking Sugarlands by declaring local governments could reject a distillery application. Faison said the bills was influenced by “high-powered people who have a lot of money” and should not be “dictating” how many distilleries a town can have for “high-powered corn in a jar.”
“This amendment creates a monopoly in a particular part of the state. That’s a fact,” responded Carr, reminding colleagues that the Ole Smoky operators ran a newspaper ad charging that legislators were trying to “sneak through” a bill to curb local control over liquor.
Faison’s amendment was killed on a 55-28 vote. Other rejected amendments included one by Rep. Richard Floyd, R-Chattanooga, that would have prohibited distilleries and wineries from selling their products on Sunday.
The bill itself passed 57-31 with six lawmakers abstaining.