published Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Jim Tracy reports raising $303,000 in quarter


by Chris Carroll
State senator Jim Tracy speaks in this file photo.
State senator Jim Tracy speaks in this file photo.

WASHINGTON — The financial stakes are a little higher today in Tennessee's 4th District, where state Sen. Jim Tracy had another big-money fundraising quarter and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais is keeping his campaign fundraising data close to the chest.

In a Wednesday news release that calls DesJarlais "the embattled incumbent," Tracy, a Shelbyville Republican, said he raised $303,000 between April and June. The announcement came several days before the deadline for federal candidates to file detailed campaign finance reports with the government.

DesJarlais and another 4th District Republican challenger, state Rep. Joe Carr of Lascassas, declined requests to provide their second-quarter hauls and said to expect numbers on the July 15 deadline. That represents a departure from last quarter, when Carr was first to release his $200,000 haul well ahead of the final day to do so.

In a phone interview, Tracy said he has $656,000 left after expenses.

In the year's first fundraising quarter, Tracy doubled Carr's haul and held a 4-to-1 cash-on-hand lead over DesJarlais. At the end of March, DesJarlais reported $87,000 on hand and Carr had $192,000 left.

"I will not be outworked in this race," Tracy said.

Despite winning re-election last November, DesJarlais suffered a series of political setbacks related to an old divorce and quickly drew two well-financed challengers in Tracy and Carr. His fundraising apparatus has stalled ever since, with several congressional Republicans abandoning his cause.

A Jasper physician who describes himself as "pro-life," DesJarlais won re-election last year despite a trove of documents that showed he slept with patients and pressured a former patient-lover to get an abortion. Records published after the election revealed DesJarlais supported two of his ex-wife's three abortions.

Congressional campaign contributions must be designated for use in primary or general elections. About 85 percent of Tracy's first-quarter contributions were for the Republican primary, records show.

Tracy's second-quarter release doesn't differentiate between primary and general contributions. In a phone interview, he said "most" second-quarter contributions are for the primary.

The 4th District GOP primary will be held in August 2014. The political territory includes Bledsoe, Grundy, Marion and Sequatchie counties as well as parts of Bradley County.

Republicans Oluyomi Faparusi and Chase Williams also are listed as 4th District candidates on the Federal Election Commission's website. Neither has filed a campaign finance report.

No Democrat officially has declared as a candidate.

Contact staff writer Chris Carroll at ccarroll@timesfreepress.com or 423-280-2025.

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