Campaign cash is about to be flowing the way of state Sen. Jim Tracy.
Tracy, a Republican from Shelbyville, is already seeking to unseat 4th District Rep. Scott DesJarlais in 2014.
An invitation obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press revealed the candidate planned his first major fundraiser for March 14 in Murfreesboro, with more than 100 supporters already signed on as honorary hosts, sponsors and hosts.
Honorary hosts include former Gov. Winfield Dunn and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, along with 17 state senators and six members of the state House of Representatives.
Among the senators listed as honorary hosts are Sens. Bo Watson and Todd Gardenhire, both of whom represent Senate districts located in Hamilton County.
Tracy, a third-term senator, said upon announcing his campaign last month that DesJarlais had "betrayed and deceived" his constituents and needed to be replaced after becoming embroiled in scandal during the 2012 election.
Documents from the pro-life congressman's decade-old divorce revealed he had carried on multiple affairs with women who were his patients while working as a physician and that he pressured one to terminate a pregnancy.
Testimony also showed DesJarlais supported his ex-wife's decision to have two abortions.
After the reports of his past surfaced, the congressman said he had received forgiveness from God and had turned his life around. He boasts having voted repeatedly for pro-life legislation.
Despite defeating his Democratic challenger in 2012 by more than 12 percentage points, DesJarlais exhausted more than $1.2 million from his campaign account—including more than $430,000 in the race's final days. The actions left the congressman with less than $16,000 in his campaign coffer at the end of the 2012 campaign finance cycle.
So far, Tracy is the only Republican to have officially announced a primary challenge to DesJarlais. State Reps. Kevin Brooks and Joe Carr have been reportedly mulling campaigns, along with Forrest Shoaf, a former executive of Cracker Barrel restaurants.
Efforts to reach the DesJarlais campaign by Nooga.com were unsuccessful.
The 4th District primary will take place in late summer of 2014.
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