A poll conducted by a group favoring Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ re-election shows he is leading state Sen. Jim Tracy by 2-to-1 in advance of the Aug. 7 Republican primary, according to a press release.
Polling by Citizens for Ethics in Government across the 4th Congressional District showed DesJarlais ahead 44.72 percent to 20.42 percent for Tracy, with 29.62 percent undecided. The “horse-race” poll was taken June 5-6 of 1,337 voters who participated in the Republican primary, according to the statement.
“We are happy to release the poll results and details, and we know that Tracy has been polling heavily for months but has never released any results. That says a lot about where this race really is,” stated Andy Miller, chairman of the group. Miller could not be reached for comment on more details about the poll.
The poll was conducted by Right Way Marketing, an independent research and was weighted to the voter participation rate of the 2012 election, according to Miller. It asked the question: If the election for Congress were held today, would you vote for:
Several candidates are running in the GOP primary, including Steve Lane of Murfreesboro, a 43-year-old associate instructor in building and construction at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville. Gill pointed out that DesJarlais probably garnered more name recognition in the polling, compared to Tracy.
Rutherford County has about 37 percent of the district’s residents.
Stephanie Jarnigan, Tracy’s campaign manager, released this statement Friday: “We cannot comment on the poll because they have failed to prove its legitimacy, source or methodology.”
Tracy holds a strong campaign fundraising lead over DesJarlais, reporting $913,561 in his coffers at the end of March, compared to $198,356 for the incumbent.
A Bedford County resident, Tracy mounted his congressional campaign in late 2012, not long after media reports surfaced about divorce court documents from around 2000 showing DesJarlais encouraged his ex-wife and a mistress to have abortions.
“Although the mainstream media and the Jim Tracy campaign want people to believe that Congressman Scott DesJarlais’ re-election campaign is over, the fact is that DesJarlais’ name recognition and conservative voting record have him in strong position for re-election despite the orchestrated smear campaign he has endured for over two years,” Miller stated.
Miller contends Tracy’s support for Common Core, a federally-backed education curriculum, should be compared to DesJarlais’ voting record, which earned him recognition by the National Journal as the fourth-most conservative member of Congress.
DesJarlais, a South Pittsburg primary care physician, has consistently opposed the Affordable Care Act, Common Core education curriculum and increases in the national debt ceiling while backing more funding to give veterans better health care.
Though Citizens for Ethics in Government states that it isn’t affiliated with any candidate or candidate committee, it supports DesJarlais based on his record, according to Steve Gill, a spokesman for the group. He noted that Tracy’s voting record shows he “is not as conservative as he claims.”
However, Americans for Prosperity released a statement last week naming Tracy one of its Senate Champions for Prosperity based on voting record, survey responses and sponsorship of free-market legislation.
“These leaders support statewide school-choice vouchers, stopping the federal over-reach of Common Core and repealing the Hall income tax,” the AFP stated. These issues define the next generation as well as the one before us. Our children’s ability to get a quality education and our elders’ ability to thrive in retirement depend upon the issues facing us today.”
State Sens. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, Mae Beavers, R-Mt. Juliet, and Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, also received the recognition