DesJarlais vote count holds up in 4th Congressional District GOP primary

DesJarlais vote count holds up in 4th Congressional District GOP primary

August 15th, 2014 by Andy Sher in Local Regional News

Jim Tracy and Scott DesJarlais

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NASHVILLE - With all but one provisional vote counted in last week's 4th Congressional District GOP primary, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais has at least a 38-vote lead over challenger Jim Tracy.

The Franklin County Election Commission will count the lone remaining provisional ballot today, said Margaret Ottley, the county's election administrator.

Even if Tracy wins that one, it won't change the outcome of the Aug. 7 election. DesJarlais' campaign once again called on Tracy to concede, and Tracy once again refused.

"Because the race is so close, we are going to continue to follow through the certification process," said his campaign manager, Stephanie Jarnagin.

The certification process won't end until Aug. 25 in some 4th District counties. The district covers all or parts of 16 East and Middle Tennessee counties.

DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson scoffed at Tracy's refusal to concede.

"It is hard to take the Tracy campaign's purported respect for the integrity of the election process seriously when he had no problem prematurely declaring himself winner on election night while votes were still being counted," Jameson said.

Many thought Tracy, a state senator from Shelbyville, would easily beat the South Pittsburg physician tarred by sexual scandals uncovered in his 2001 divorce.

Tracy, who ran and lost in another congressional district in 2010, easily outraised DesJarlais and his state Senate colleagues overwhelmingly backed him.

But the congressman touted his conservative voting record and his opposition to President Barack Obama, and slammed Tracy for voting for Common Core education standards, a hot button issue for his hard-right base.

At the same time, a number of voters said they were focusing on DesJarlais' voting record today and not the personal troubles that occurred years before his first 2010 election.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550.