published Saturday, August 23rd, 2014

Tracy holds fast; DesJarlais calls for concession in congressional race

Jim Tracy and Scott DesJarlais
Jim Tracy and Scott DesJarlais

State Sen. Jim Tracy's campaign has only a few more days in which to concede or push for a recount in his race to unseat U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais in Tennessee's 4th Congressional District.

Tennessee Election Coordinator Mark Goins said Tracy has five calendar days from Thursday to challenge the election, which shows DesJarlais with a 38-vote lead over the challenger.

"That's calendar days, so this weekend counts against him," Goins said Friday.

All 16 counties in the district have certified their votes in the Aug. 7 election. And Goins said the state would certify all county races at one time when all of the state's 95 counties have certified. As of Friday, Goins said, about 70 counties are in.

Stephanie Jarnagin, spokeswoman for Tracy's campaign, said Friday the challenger will make a call early next week.

"Sen. Tracy is reviewing additional information over the weekend and will have a decision on whether or not to contest the election on Monday," Jarnagin said. "When there are over 70,000 votes cast and it comes down to a little over 30 votes' difference, I think it's important to dot your i's and cross your t's."

Jarnagin did not say what additional information Tracy was reviewing.

But Goins said any information the Tracy campaign has comes from one of the 16 counties -- the secretary of state's office is just acting as a conduit for them.

If Tracy challenged the election, he would make his case to the state Republican Party, Goins said.

"They will have to state their grounds on what they are contesting. The party could order a recount, void the election or declare a new winner, based on the proof that is presented," he said.

DesJarlais says it's time for Tracy to bow out.

"Now that votes have been officially certified and the democratic process has played out, it is time for Jim to concede for the good of the district and the good of the Tennessee Republican Party," DesJarlais told the Times Free Press on Friday.

He thanked voters for their support and said Republicans need to band together ahead of the November general election.

Contact staff writer Louie Brogdon at lbrogdon@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6481.

about Louie Brogdon...

Louie Brogdon began reporting with the Chattanooga Times Free Press in February 2013. Before he came to the Scenic City, Louie lived on St. Simons Island, Ga. and covered crime, courts, environment and government at the Brunswick News, a 17,000-circulation daily on the Georgia coast. While there, he was awarded for investigative reporting on police discipline and other law enforcement issues by the Georgia Press Association. For the Times Free Press, Louie covers Hamilton County ...

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