published Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Tennessee Democratic activist Lenda Sherrell weighs 4th District bid

NASHVILLE — A Democratic activist from Monteagle, Tenn., says she’s eyeing a potential run in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District in 2014.

Lenda Sherrell, a retired CPA who worked last year as a Tennessee volunteer for President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, said she is in a “very early exploratory” stage of seeing whether to run in the sprawling district, which takes in all or parts of 15 counties.

“Frankly, I’m just not far enough along to know for sure that’s what I’m going to do,” said Sherrell, who formerly lived and worked in Chattanooga. “But it’s a possibility.”

The district is now held by U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., a South Pittsburg, Tenn., physician, who already faces GOP primary opposition in 2014 from two announced candidates — state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville, and state Rep. Joe Carr, R-Lascassas.

“I’m a wife, a mother and grandmother, all of my life I’ve spent a lot of my time volunteering in the community,” said Sherrell, who spent some three decades in Chattanooga where she worked for a local accounting firm and once served as the private McCallie School’s controller.

She said she has “always been very aware of leaving our community a better place for our kids and our grandkids. I’m just trying to figure out the next step for me in doing that.”

DesJarlais, who has run as a staunch pro-life advocate, was rocked in 2012 by revelations showing he had encouraged a patient to seek an abortion in 2000. Documents later released from his divorce showed he concurred with his then-wife’s decision to seek two abortions.

But the congressman has said that was over a dozen years ago and that he has since changed his life, found God and remarried.

The district, which both DesJarlais and GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney carried last year, includes part of Bradley County and all of Rhea, Bledsoe, Sequatchie, Grundy, Marion and Franklin counties.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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