One of the tough things about being a Republican these days in Tennessee is that you sometimes have to choose between people you personally know and like in the Republican Primary. For me, this is the case in the 4th District Congressional race.
I have known Sen. Jim Tracy ever since he first got elected ten years ago. I think the world of him and probably always will. He is just that kind of guy to me. Since he is not a senator in my district, I have not kept up on his record, but he keeps getting re-elected, so his constituents must like what he is doing. He was the senate sponsor for one of my OHV bills early on and his staff was excellent when dealing with me. That is a great sign for any leader. Surround yourself with great people who care and understand the role of government as a service oriented profession and you will go far. Jim Tracy gets that.
I first met Dr. Scott DesJarlais when I changed primary doctors and chose him. I liked what he had to say and when he won the 4th District seat in 2010, I was pleasantly surprised. Ever since, he has held the line on issues I care about. He is the 3rd most conservative member in Congress and second most fiscally conservative in running his office budget. He may not be the most popular guy on the hill, but he stands strong on issues that are important to his rural constituents and he is great at communicating with them and getting their feedback. I can't tell you how important that is for anyone in office. Keep connected, know your people. They will stand behind you when the mud starts slinging. Dr. D has survived two cycles of mud slinging and is at the end of his third round (my heart breaks for his wife and children every time, but they are solid, steadfast and true) and so far, each time, his constituents have got his back. That says something, because the mud is dark and deep.
Luckily, we have great choices in this race, I think that is healthy for all Tennesseans and great for the 4th District. Unfortunately in elections, you have to make a choice when you step into the ballot box.
This time around, I will have to stand behind Dr. Scott DeJarlais once again. He has given me no reason to send him home.