Reeves-Carr race heats up as early voting starts

Jan 09, 2018 at 08:00 am by Michelle Willard

Things are heating up in the race for Tennessee State Senate District 14 seat formerly held by Jim Tracy.

Perennial candidate John Anderson of Bell Buckle has filed a complaint that Tracy violated the Hatch Act, according to a Jan. 8 report from Sam Stockard in The Murfreesboro Post.

Anderson (who just happens to be a friend of Joe Carr) alleged Tracy violated the federal law restricting the political activities of federal employees when he held a fundraiser for the Shane Reeves for State Senate campaign.

Anderson ran against Tracy and incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in the 2014 Republican primary.

RELATED: Gayle Jordan announces plans to run for Tracy's seat

RELATED: Jim Tracy addresses rumors about his resignation from state Senate

The Hatch Act of 1939 was intended to prevent patronage among federal employees by barring federal employees from actively participating in political campaigns.

Reeves' campaign manager told Stockard that the invitations had been printed before Tracy took his new job with the USDA.

“Once he was officially employed, he recused himself from all campaign activity, including all events for Reeves. He did not attend any of them," said Matt Herriman, the campaign manager.

The event at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville took place Nov. 16. Tracy announced he took the federal appointment Nov. 3, 2017.

As evidence in his complaint, Anderson included a quote from an email announcing the lunch that says "No contribution is required, but it is certainly encouraged as this will be a rapid race."

The Anderson revelation comes just a few days after Shane Reeves sent out a mailer promising to decline per diem if he's elected to Tracy's seat, according to WGNS.

"While loudly declaring himself 'not a politician' Shane is showing that he is the worst kind of hypocritical politician by resorting to inaccurate and deceptive personal attacks while patting himself on the back for being such a strong man of 'faith.' Actions speak louder than words, and Shane's shameful actions reveal who he really is," Carr said in response to the mailer.

He also said that if Reeves was a "true conservative," he wouldn't have taken the tax breaks offered to TwelveStone Medical Partners to build a new headquarters in Murfreesboro. Reeves' company received a five-year payment in lieu of taxes plan worth a total savings of $723,887 in property taxes, according to an article in The DNJ.

Carr failed to mention that he came under scrutiny when he served as the state representative from Lascassas for his use of per diem.

When Carr served, legislators who lived close to Nashville could receive per diem and mileage for making the drive to the Capitol.

In 2009, Carr, who was unemployed at the time, claimed $18,000 in per diem for making the 30-mile trip to Nashville.

The General Assembly changed its policy in 2013 in part because of the controversy surrounding Carr.

Early voting underway

Early voting is currently underway in the Republican primary for Tennessee State Senate District 14.

Early voting began Friday, Jan. 5 and runs through Jan. 20 for the primary, set for Jan. 25, in the special election to fill Jim Tracy's vacated seat. The special election will be held Tuesday, March 13.

If you haven't decided who you are going to vote for, WGNS Radio is broadcasting a candidate forum with Carr and Reeves from 8:10-9 a.m. Friday, Jan. 12.

Listeners will be able to phone or text questions to the radio broadcast at 615-893-1450.

The winner of the GOP primary will face off against Democrat Gayle Jordan, who is running unopposed.

Michelle Willard is a freelance journalist who fills her days with social media marketing, politics and true crime podcasts, and taking complaints. You can complain to her on Twitter @MichWillard or by email michelle(at)


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