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The Tennessean editorial board has endorsed Congressman Jim Cooper for re-election in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District and state Sen. Eric Stewart to replace the disgraced Congressman Scott Desjarlais in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional District. From today’s paper:
4th Congressional District
The sprawling Fourth District has had a tumultuous few years, with former Rep. Lincoln Davis of Pall Mall being a rare congressional incumbent to be unseated in 2010. It has been more tumultuous for his successor, Republican Scott DesJarlais.
The physician from South Pittsburg from the start has sounded tea party themes, stating what he opposes instead of talking about working together in a bipartisan fashion to mend the nation’s economic and social divisions.
Now, he has admitted he had a 2001 phone conversation in which he tried to encourage a woman to have an abortion after they had an intimate relationship. A transcript was made of the conversation, which took place during DesJarlais’ divorce proceedings.
The congressman and his supporters dismiss the reports as irrelevant and a blatant attempt to hurt his re-election chances. Even if the latter is true, the reports are anything but irrelevant. His willingness to have the unnamed woman undergo an abortion challenges his credibility as an outspoken pro-life politician. More importantly, the woman was his patient, a violation of medical ethics.
If you violate the tenets of your profession, how can constituents trust you to honor the oath you take as a member of Congress?
Fortunately for residents of the Fourth, Rep. DesJarlais has an opponent who can do the job: Eric Stewart of Belvidere. The two-term state senator and Franklin County insurance agent has been an able legislator with clear positions as a moderate-to-conservative Democrat who is ready to take the next step and work on positive change in Washington. The newspaper endorses Stewart in the Fourth District.
5th Congressional District
Jim Cooper seeks his sixth term representing the Fifth District, and his vigorous criticism of the legislative body he serves in suggests that he’s not in the job for the perks.
As a “Blue Dog” moderate who on numerous occasions will vote with Republicans on a bill he believes in, the Nashville Democrat has not endeared himself to the Democratic congressional leadership. But he does represent the varied viewpoints of his district better than nearly anyone in the House.
Cooper is committed to entitlement reform, knowing that the costs of the programs cannot be sustained, and he has fought to keep Congress on the “pay-as-you-go” track that it briefly promised to follow.
He is opposed by Republican Brad Staats, who owns a wholesale security distribution business. His bid doesn’t appear to be much more than a call for smaller government and a return to family values, and his vaguely threatening message to President Obama on his campaign Facebook page, complete with a picture of a handgun, showed poor judgment.
A much better candidate for Congress is in Green Party candidate John Miglietta, a Tennessee State University professor who espouses a less militarized U.S. foreign policy, single-payer health reform and green-energy development, among other issues. But the incumbent’s credentials and commitment to the people of the Fifth District are simply too solid to crack.
The Tennessean endorses Rep. Jim Cooper for re-election.
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