"...almost impossible to be conservative enough" in Tenn. GOP primary

Aug 1, 2016

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais (L) and U.S. Rep. Diane Black

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WMOT)  --  Tennesseans head to the polls this week for primary and general election balloting and Middle Tennessee is home to two of the more interesting races.

Kent Syler teaches political science at Middle Tennessee State. He notes that 4th Tennessee Congressional District Rep. Scott DesJarlais and 6th District Rep. Diane Black are both facing Republican primary challengers on Thursday.

Syler says that DesJarlais and Black are two of Tennessee’s most conservative lawmakers, so he finds it ironic that both are facing challenges from their right.

“I think it says a lot about where the Republican Party is right now, and the divisions in it, in that it is almost impossible to be conservative enough for some people. And so both Black and DesJarlais are being attacked as being part of the establishment and not conservative enough.”

Black is being challenged by veteran Middle Tennessee Republican lawmaker Joe Carr. DesJarlais is being challenged by newcomer Grant Starrett.

“Starrett has spent a million dollars or more, a lot of it his own money, to run a lot of ads and direct mail hitting DesJarlais on food stamps, abortion and immigration among other things.”

Syler also says that in spite of the current political climate being one of the most heated in recent memory, early and absentee voting in Tennessee have been surprising light.