Internet Exclusive: Rep. Joe Carr announced that veteran GOP strategist Chip Saltsman has joined his team in his bid to win the GOP primary in Tennessee’s 4th Congressional district. The announcement follows Carr’s recent entrance into the race earlier this month and a highly successful fundraising period.
In just 6 weeks, Carr’s exploratory committee raised over $205,000 (nearly double the amount raised by incumbent Rep. Scott Desjarlais during the most recent filing period). Carr of course is also running against local State Senator Jim Tracy.
“We are excited that Chip will lead our team,” Carr stated. “Chip brings significant firepower and experience to our campaign. His excellent track record of managing both statewide and national campaigns is invaluable. Chip is a leader and proven winner in the conservative movement. I’m thankful for his friendship and for the opportunity to serve with him to advance the conservative principles of individual liberty, personal responsibility and state sovereignty that are among the pillars of American exceptionalism.”
Saltsman, a native Tennessean, is no stranger to GOP politics. He was elected Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party in 1998 and quickly faced a crisis of conscience when Republican Governor Don Sundquist unveiled a state income tax proposal as the centerpiece of his second term. Saltsman remained true to his fiscal conservatism and refused to betray his conservative principles. He actively opposed the income tax and helped organize its defeat by joining forces with grassroots conservatives across the state to launch a tax revolt.
Saltsman gained national prominence when he served as National Campaign Manager for Governor Mike Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign. He engineered the Arkansas governor’s shocking Iowa Caucus win that propelled him to frontrunner status. Prior to managing the Huckabee presidential campaign, Saltsman led the seemingly insurmountable effort to defeat then Vice President Al Gore in his home state of Tennessee.
“I’m very thankful to Rep. Carr for the opportunity to lead his team. Joe is an outstanding conservative leader with an outstanding record of leadership and accomplishment in making Tennessee a better place to live, work and raise families,” Saltsman said. “Tennesseans in the 4th district have a clear choice in this election and a tremendous opportunity to send a conservative champion to Washington, DC. It’s clear our country is mired in both an economic and moral crisis. Joe’s principled, steady conservative leadership will reorient us toward our first principles and lead us through these storms,” he added.
Prior to joining the Carr campaign, Saltsman managed Congressman Chuck Fleischmann’s campaigns. Saltsman was instrumental in guiding Fleischman’s surprise victories in Tennessee’s 3rd district in 2010 and 2012. He also served as Fleischmann’s Chief of Staff in between those campaigns.
In 2002, Saltsman began serving as senior political advisor to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist at VOLPAC, A political action committee chaired by Frist and dedicated to the recruitment and support of conservative candidates for political office nationwide. His leadership at VOLPAC helped Republicans win over 80% of their nationwide races in 2004. Saltsman has also worked closely with Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker.
In addition to his political credentials, Saltsman brings a wealth of business experience to the campaign. He earned a bachelor’s and master’s in business administration from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, served as a Director with Harpeth Capital Investment Banking in Nashville and founded and created S&S Strategies. He is also active in several Middle Tennessee charities. Saltsman joins veteran GOP fundraiser Thomsen Smith (who leads Lt. Governor Ramsey’s RAAMPAC political action committee) who joined the Carr campaign in February.
Rep. Carr, a 1981 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, is a business consultant who helps companies become more energy efficient. Additionally, he and his wife Ginny own and operate Cedar Snag Farms in Lascassas.
He was elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in 2008 and currently serves as Chairman of the Local Government subcommittee. He is a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association and member of the National Federation of Independent Business, Tennessee Right to Life, Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce, Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Athletic Association and supporter of Greenhouse Ministries. He is also an accomplished private pilot and member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Association.
Rep. Carr has been married to Ginny for 30 years, and they have three children, Erin, Maddie and Joe, Jr. Ginny and Joe also have a grandson, Colby. He has lived in Rutherford County since he was a young boy and his family roots go back five generations in Rutherford County. Joe, Ginny and Joe Jr. are members of Believers Chapel in Murfreesboro.
Justin Wax, Carr for Congress Campaign