In stark contrast to his bitter re-election campaign last fall where he was rarely seen, Representative Scott DesJarlais hosted a series of events across his district this week billed as Coffee with the Congressman.
Late Friday afternoon the second term representative was at the City Cafe in Rutherford County which comprises about half the voters in the largely rural 4th District.
He said voters “aren't asking him about the campaign issues,” but rather “a whole lot of other issues.”
Rep. DesJarlais is believed to be the only Republican congressman who already faces announced opposition within his own party.
Early last month, state Senator Jim Tracy announced he would run for the seat saying Rep. DesJarlais “deceived” and “betrayed” voters about various issues revealed in the campaign stemming from the congressman's 2001 divorce.
Divorce documents obtained by the Tennessee Democratic Party last fall indicated DesJarlais consented to an abortion by his then wife, and later urged a patient he had treated and dated while a medical doctor, to also have an abortion.
“Its time to move beyond the campaign issues,” the congressman told Nashville's News 2 in a live interview at 4 p.m.
He told Nashville's News 2 that he would “unequivocally run for re-election.”
The two dozen or so people who drifted in an out of the City Cafe late Friday seemed split between Republicans and Democrats.
The congressman fielded questions on many of the major issues facing Washington today from immigration and health care, but when a woman asked him about universal gun control, a mini-debate broke out for a few minutes among the constituents there.
The congressman eventually stepped in with his own thoughts saying its shown that firearms restrictions have not curbed gun violence
Rep. DesJarlais also told the crowd that he would “take a look” at the recent bipartisan framework for immigration reform.
The congressman met with the group for about an hour before moving on to an event with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce.