U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais has declined the invitation to debate Republican challenger Jack Maddux on grounds his opponent had voted for Hillary Clinton and is not a credible candidate.
The comment was a response to an inquiry by the Banner of DesJarlais why he had not responded to a letter sent by Maddux challenging the congressman to a debate.
DesJarlais currently represents the 4th Congressional District.
“Scott DesJarlais and his opponent have appeared together at recent events, where they’ve shared their views with voters. A proven conservative, Rep. DesJarlais expects more opportunities to talk about his votes for tax cuts, a stronger military and border security, but will not be accepting this invitation,” the statement said.
The statement also claimed Maddux voted for Hillary Clinton.
“[DesJarlais’] opponent voted for Hillary Clinton and is not a credible candidate in a Republican primary election,” the statement said. “DesJarlais, who has the support of major conservative organizations, the Republican Party and President Trump, is looking forward to upcoming events in Bradley County and across the 4th District.”
In a response, Maddux told the CDB he had voted for Clinton in the 2008 primaries, but not because he supported her candidacy. It was to cast a vote against then-candidate Barack Obama.
“I voted for her because Rush Limbaugh was telling Republicans to vote for Clinton during primaries,” Maddux said.
Maddux said DesJarlais is aware he is a committed Republican.
DesJarlais knows Maddux has “always supported Republicans and conservatives, except for that one strategic vote,” Maddux’s statement said.
Maddux said he would like to ask DesJarlais in person, why he “disqualifies me from being a credible candidate.”
Limbaugh reportedly asked urged voters to “vote for Clinton to bloody up Obama politically and prolong the Democratic fight” for the nomination. The procedure, known as “party raiding,” is when a member of a party votes for the weaker candidate in an opposing party; therefore, helping their candidate face the weaker candidate in a general election.
According to a statement released by the Maddux campaign, DesJarlais “continues to disrespect the voters of the 4th District by not participating in an open and public debate with his political opponent.”
Labeling himself as a genuine conservative, Maddux said he has repeatedly challenged DesJarlais to a debate.
“Maddux learned while serving in the United States Navy and as a Chattanooga police officer that open communication between all sides of any issue is helpful in discovering solutions that benefit everyone,” his campaign statement said.
Maddux has a list of questions for DesJarlais during an open debate, including when life begins, why USA Today described him as the “quietest congressman” in Washington, why did he take credit for the construction of the Veteran’s Home when he voted against Veterans Administration funding and why did he voted to raise the retirement age to 70.
DesJarlais was elected to represent the 4th District in 2010, defeating Democrat Lincoln Davis who had represented the district since 2003.
The 4th District consists of Bedford, Bledsoe, Franklin, Grundy, Lincoln, Marion, Marshall, Meigs, Moore, Rhea, Rutherford, Sequatchie and Warren counties, and includes sections of Bradley, Maury and Van Buren counties.
Maddux is a veteran of the United States Navy and a former police officer with the Chattanooga Police Department. He graduated from Bryan College in Dayton.
The Republican primary is Aug. 2.
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE