(T-G Photo by John I. Carney) [Order this photo]
Tracy, a Republican from Shelbyville with a background as an insurance agent, is seeking the 4th District house seat currently held by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg.
DesJarlais, also a Republican, is scheduled to be sworn in today for the new term to which he was elected two months ago. The next election, the one in which Tracy has announced himself as a contender, will be in 2014.
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
"It is with a heavy heart that I've decided to challenge the incumbent from my own party," Tracy said. Tracy is the second Republican to announce interest in running for the seat, the other being State Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas, who has formed an exploratory committee.
DesJarlais won easy re-election in November, defeating Democratic challenger Eric Stewart of Winchester.
But -- in the latter days of the campaign and since the election -- DesJarlais has been the subject of discussion surrounding his admitted extramarital relationship with a patient in 2000.
Critics have said the relationship violated medical ethics and that DesJarlais, who has run on an anti-abortion platform, encouraged the patient to have an abortion. DesJarlais has dismissed the complaints as old and irrelevant to his current service.
Tracy said that DesJarlais had "betrayed" his constituents.
"I promise you that I will never embarrass you with my personal conduct or compromise my conservative principles," said Tracy.
Tracy said that the federal government is "broken, morally and financially," and complained about high levels of federal spending. He said he would support a balanced budget amendment and fundamental reforms to the tax structure.
"It's broken," said Tracy. "It's filled with loopholes and it penalizes success."
(T-G Photo by John I. Carney)
"This requires more than just voting 'no,'" said Tracy.
Tracy said he would fight "job-killing regulations and mandates."
Tracy, with his wife Trena and three sons standing behind him, said he is pro-life and believes that marriage should only be allowed between a man and a woman.
"I have a 100 percent pro-life voting record," he said.
He said he also supports gun rights under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
State Rep. Pat Marsh, Tracy's colleague in representing Bedford County and several other areas, was among the dignitaries present for Wednesday's announcement. He said he was excited for Tracy.
"It's going to be a long, hard road," said Marsh.
Tracy unsuccessfully sought the 6th District House seat in 2010, before Bedford and Rutherford counties were moved from the 6th to the 4th District.
"We did very well two years ago," said Tracy, saying he had learned from that earlier run and believed he would be more successful this time.
In answer to a question, Tracy said the rules that prohibit members of the Tennessee General Assembly from re-election fund-raising during the legislative session do not prohibit them from raising funds for federal races.
Marsh said he would miss Tracy's assistance on Capitol Hill.
"I don't want to lose him as a senator," said Marsh.
Others present for Wednesday's ceremony included Bedford County Election Commission member Danny Robbins; Scott Cocanougher; and Doyle Meadows.
Redistricting which became effective in the 2012 election cycle moved Bedford County and populous Rutherford County into the 4th district, making it the center of the district's population and opening the door for candidates with Rutherford County ties.
The 4th district includes 16 counties in southern Middle Tennessee stretching into East Tennessee.