The 4th Congressional District of Tennessee will hold an election for the U.S. House of Representatives on November 4, 2014. In August 2013, Politico labeled RepublicanScott DesJarlais the incumbent most likely to lose his primary election. In October 2012, just before the election, documents from Desjarlais' 2001 divorce proceedings revealed that he encouraged his ex-wife to have two abortions and that he had affairs with his patients. Sen. Jim Tracy, one of DesJarlais' six primary challengers, recently released an ad and a mailer highlighting Desjarlais' scandal and attacking his character. The attacks, however, may not be enough to unseat the congressman. "Republicans said many in the district have already forgiven DesJarlais’ behavior," according to Roll Call. Instead, voters in the conservative district may be focused on the fact that DesJarlais' has the fourth most conservative voting record in Congress. His recent cancer diagnosis has also made him more sympathetic to voters. According to a GOP operative, “I’m not willing to say for sure that anything is a done deal, but it’s closer than it should be. But that doesn’t mean that Tracy at the end of the day doesn’t pull it off, just because there’s a huge cash advantage, and Rutherford County is such a huge portion of the electorate in the new district. I think it’s going to be hard for DesJarlais to overcome Tracy in the Nashville metro area.” The winner of the Republican primary will likely win the seat in November. The race is rated a "Safe Republican" contest by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.
Candidate Filing Deadline
April 3, 2014
August 7, 2014
November 4, 2014
Primary: Tennessee is one of 14 states that uses an open primary system, in which registered voters do not have to be members of a party to vote in that party's primary.
Incumbent: Heading into the election the incumbent is Scott DesJarlais (R), who was first elected in 2010.
Tennessee's 4th Congressional District is located in the central and southcentral portion of the state and includes Rhea, Bradley, Bledsoe, Van Buren, Warren, Grundy, Sequatchie, Marion, Franklin, Moore, Lincoln, Marshall, Bedford, Maury and Rutherford counties.
In August 2013, Politico published a list of the five primaries to watch in 2014. Tennessee's 4th Congressional District was included on the list. According to Politico, there is no incumbent more likely to lose a primary than Scott DesJarlais, the scandal-plagued sophomore Republicancongressman. During the final weeks before the 2012 general election, sworn testimony from his 2001 divorce trial was uncovered in which DesJarlais, a former physician and hospital chief of staff, acknowledged having sexual relationships with patients and even prescribing drugs to one of them. DesJarlais still managed to win re-election in the conservative district.
On July 11, 2014, DesJarlais announced that he has early stage cancer in his neck. Desjarlais will undergo radiation and chemotherapy in August during the congressional recess. DesJarlais released the following statement: “I am extremely fortunate to have caught this disease in its early stage. My doctors and I expect a full recovery and that treatment will not interfere with my work in Congress. My wife, Amy, and our entire family are thankful for prayers and support during this period of treatment. I look forward to continuing to serve Tennessee’s Fourth District as we fight to return our nation back to the constitutional principles it was founded on.”
Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott DesJarlais' July 2014 ad, "The Choice."
Jim Tracy, "Signature."
Jim Tracy, "Bankrupt."
Jim Tracy, "Oath."
Jim Tracy, "DesJarlais Abortion Scandal."
Steve Lane, "Join Me."
DesJarlais has been endorsed by the following organizations:
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