CHATTANOOGA (AP) — A young man with a political pedigree is one of few Republicans publicly criticizing U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais and says he won’t rule out making a primary election run in the 4th District.
DesJarlais says his views have evolved since he supported abortions by his former wife and said he will not resign although he deeply regrets past relationships with multiple women, including patients and co-workers.
Weston Wamp, 25, lost a Republican primary in August to incumbent 3rd District U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann. The son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that any decision to challenge DesJarlais is not top of mind.
“It’s incredibly early,” said Wamp, on Wednesday. “If anything, this is on the backburner. But I won’t rule anything out. I live a lot closer to most of the 4th District than I do the 3rd District.”
U.S. Representatives must live in the state where they are elected, but are not required to live in the district from which they are elected.
Wamp’s interview with the newspaper came four days after Wamp referred to DesJarlais during a television program as “kind of a creepy guy.”
Most Republican leaders have reserved comment on revelations concerning DesJarlais.
“It’s a deafening silence. I think it’s important that people call a spade a spade regardless of party,” Wamp said. “I don’t think Scott DesJarlais has any credibility anymore. That has nothing to do with whether I run or not.”
A DesJarlais spokesman did not respond to requests for comment.
Vanderbilt University political science professor Bruce Oppenheimer said Wamp got an education from his previous campaign.
“I think he learned something from that race,” Oppenheimer said. “He would bring plenty of assets to the campaign.”
Marion County Republican Party Chairman Howard Cotter said he doesn’t fault Wamp for being ambitious, but questions whether he would be a good fit in the district.
“But I would prefer he remain in the 3rd District, run again over there and let us pick a rural candidate to represent us,” Cotter said.