Underdog DesJarlais begins quest for 3rd Congressional term
Aug 7, 2013 06:18 PM
Reported By Chris Bundgaard, Reporter - bio | email
FRANKLIN COUNTY, Tenn. -
Under threatening skies in Franklin County that waited to unleash heavy rains until his announcement was over, Dr. Scott DesJarlais officially declared Wednesday to run for his third term as U.S. Representative in Middle Tennessee's largely rural forth district.
He is one of the few congressional members in the country to already have two members of his own party as opposition.
After drawing his largest applause for saying he will continue fighting to repeal or defend Obamacare, the incumbent addressed his opposition by saying "they have no better way to attack me" than focus on "personal mistakes from the 90s," rather than a record in Congress.
During a divorce from his first wife more than a decade ago, DesJarlais, admitted to affairs and urging a patient he had sex with to have an abortion.
Most of the details came out just when the Tennessee Democratic Party legally sought the release of the Republican DesJarlais' divorce records.
After a judge approved the release, the documents were made public just days after the congressman easily won a second term last November over his Democratic challenger, Eric Stewart.
State Senator Jim Tracy declared his candidacy in January just two months after Rep. DesJarlais won re-election.
In April, State Representative Joe Carr announced he too would seek the congressional seat.
Tracy, followed by Carr, lead in fundraising by wide margins over the incumbent.
When the question came up later before reporters, DesJarlais reminded them that he has been an underdog before and plans to "work harder" than his opponents.
Judy Johnson was among the 100 or so people who were outside the Franklin County Courthouse in Winchester for the announcement.
She told News 2 that DesJarlais had been a "great congressman who has done great work for us and you can't judge people by their personal [lives]."
The Republican primary for the congressional seat that includes the Murfreesboro and Shelbyville areas is next August.