State Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas has formed an exploratory committee for a possible primary challenge of his fellow Republican, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, in 2014.
DesJarlais, a physician from South Pittsburg, represents the 4th Congressional District; Bedford County has moved into that district effective with the current 2012 election cycle and will be represented by DesJarlais when Congress convenes in January.
The district includes 16 counties in southern Middle Tennessee stretching into East Tennessee.
"The formation of the exploratory committee is in response to an outpouring of people from all across the 4th congressional district, asking me to consider running for this office," said Carr in a news release. "The voters have told me that a trust has been violated. The voters want someone who not only lives by their values but will fight for them. The time for back-slapping good ole boy politics is over and Tennesseans understand this. I'm extremely proud to represent my fellow Tennesseans in the 48th legislative district and will continue to do so while my family, friends and I determine what is in the best interest of this great state."
DesJarlais won easy re-election in November but -- in the latter days of the campaign and since the election -- has been hit by scandal surrounding his admitted extramarital relationship with a patient in 2000, including a telephone conversation, reported on by the Huffington Post, in which DesJarlais urged her to get an abortion. Tennessee Democratic Party planned on Thursday to deliver court records with testimony by DesJarlais to the investigative office of Tennessee Department of Health.
DesJarlais has been praised by local horse industry officials for his support of the Tennessee Walking Horse industry in its regulatory battles.
Lee Beaman will chair Carr's exploratory committee.
"We need someone like Representative Carr who understands the principles of personal responsibility and a smaller more efficient government," said Beaman in a news release. "Joe understands the policy needs of Tennessee and is able to effectively communicate those positions. I certainly hope Joe pursues this."