Scott DesJarlais says he hasn't abandoned 'core principles'

Scott DesJarlais says he hasn't abandoned 'core principles'

September 10th, 2013 by Andy Sher in Local - Breaking News

U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.

Photo by Staff File Photo/Times Free Press.

NASHVILLE - U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., is pushing back on a conservative women's group's decision to endorse his GOP primary opponent, state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville.

"Congressman DesJarlais has a 100 percent pro-life voting record and will always fight for independent, conservative principles important to the people of Tennessee's Fourth Congressional District," DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson said in a statement.

On Monday Penny Nance, CEO the Concerned Women PAC, a group focused on social issues, announced in a news release the organization would back Tracy, saying "he stands as a strong contrast to Scott DesJarlais' abandonment of his core principles."

The decision may stem not so much from the congressman's voting record but from revelations during and after DesJarlais' 2012 reelection campaign that showed the South Pittsburg physician encouraged a former patient he'd slept with to get an abortion in 2000.

After the campaign, a transcript from was released from DesJarlais' divorce trial in which he had acknowledged going along with his first wife's decision in the 1990s to seek abortions on two occasions.

DesJarlais, first elected to the U.S. House in 2010, has said he changed his life years ago, remarried and believes he has found forgiveness from God and has asked voters to consider doing the same.