Saying incumbent Scott DesJarlais has "betrayed and deceived his constituents," Tennessee Senator Jim Tracy became the first of many likely Republican primary challengers to the embattled congressman Wednesday.
It is Tracy's second run for a congressional seat after narrowly losing the 6th District Republican primary in 2010 to then State Senator Diane Black.
His hometown of Shelbyville is now in the 4th District which DesJarlais, a medical doctor, has also represented since 2010.
Revelations from the pro-life congressman's 2001 divorce of sex with multiple patients, urging of one of them to have an abortion, and consent to an abortion from his then-wife quickly drew comment from Tracy while not being directly addressed.
"I promise that I will never embarrass you with my personal conduct or compromise on my conservative principles. I have served my constituents for the past eight years in an honorable and consistent way," Tracy said before a crowd of well-wishers gathered at a Reeves-Sain Pharmacy in Murfreesboro, the congressional district's largest city.
Tracy said he was "running for Congress because our government is both financially and morally bankrupt and in order to get America back on the right track we need leaders of character and integrity with a core belief in conservative principles serving in Congress."
Tracy afterwards told reporters, "I was hoping he [DesJarlarlais] would do the right thing and resign."
Tracy likely will not to be alone is bid to unseat his fellow Republican.
State Rep. Joe Carr of Rutherford County announced an exploratory committee last month to look at the congressional race.
"It's important because I think the voters feel their trust has been betrayed," Carr told Nashville's News 2 shortly after Sen. Tracy made his announcement. "It's been going well, but we are going to do this methodically."
Conservative commentator Steve Gill who has long been a DesJarlais critic, says the congressman may face more than just political troubles.
"When you still have the threat of losing your medical license, you have the threat that others may come forward, its going to drip on as a scandal whether or not Jim Tracy or Joe Carr bring it up," Gill said.
Others who have expressed interest, or said others are urging them to run, include State Rep. Kevin Brooks and former congressional Republican primary candidates Forrest Shoaf and Wes Wamp.
When asked about his first official challenger, DesJarlais spokesperson Robert Jameson said in a statement to Nashville's News 2 that, "Right now Congressman DesJarlais is completely focused on the job he was elected to do by residents of the Fourth District: Ending the deficit spending, repealing ObamaCare and returning our government to its proper constitutional role."
DesJarlais will be sworn in for his second term Thursday in Washington.
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