State Senator 'testing the waters' against Bart Gordon

Congressman and House Committee on Science and Technology chair could face challenge from popular state senator

It is no secret that Republicans are taking aim at Tennessee's Democratic members of Congress in an effort to climb their way back into the majority in Washington, D.C. State Sen. Jim Tracy (R-Shelbyville) may very well be joining that team soon.

Tracy, who serves as chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, confirmed to NashvillePost.com that he is "testing the waters" and is exploring a bid against Democratic incumbent Cong. Bart Gordon (Murfreesboro).

"I have been humbled by the encouraging calls," Tracy said, "and have been talking to people both here and in Washington. I will be talking to voters in the Sixth Congressional District and they will help me make my decision."

Asked if has set up an exploratory committee, Tracy said that he and some supporters are in the "testing the waters phase" and are in the process of putting things together. Questioned if he has run a poll in the district to gauge Gordon's political strength, Tracy said he had not, but that others may have.

Polls of this nature would most likely be conducted by the Republican Congressional Campaign Committee chaired by Cong. Pete Sessions of Texas.

If Tracy does decide to run he would not have to give up the State Senate seat to which he was handily re-elected to a second term in 2008.

Republicans who have already announced that they will challenge Gordon are former Rutherford County GOP chair Lou Ann Zelenik and retired U.S. Army Reserves Major General Dave Evans of Bedford County.

Gordon has served in congress since 1984 and is currently chairman of the House Committee on Science and Technology. His chairmanship of that committee will likely play a factor in both his campaign and in fundraising as it has partial or complete jurisdiction over federal agencies like NASA, the Department of Energy, the EPA, the FAA and FEMA.