Republican incumbents easily take Tennessee's 3rd, 4th districts

photo U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann speaks to his supporters after winning the race for the 3rd Congressional District in this file photo.

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photo U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, center, R-Tenn., speaks to Tennessee State Sen. Janice Bowling, in South Pittsburg, Tenn., on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2014.

Republican incumbents in Tennessee's 3rd and 4th congressional districts easily beat back Democratic challengers Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Chattanooga attorney, defeated Oak Ridge physician Mary Headrick with support from nearly 62 percent of voters. Headrick earned just over 35 percent and Independent Cassandra Mitchell captured just under 3 percent of the vote, with 256,909 ballots cast.

After declaring victory just after 9:30 p.m., Fleischmann said he looked forward to serving the entire 11-county congressional district.

"The greatest people in the world, the people of the 3rd District of Tennessee, have spoken and spoken loudly," the Ooltewah Republican said.

Fleischmann said that during his third term he would continue to focus on projects such as building a new Chickamauga Lock and securing funding for Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the northern part of the district.

After receiving a concession call from Headrick, Fleischmann said "he thanked her for a well-run and spirited race."

Headrick thanked her supporters, but said, "We are not going to get good government. ... Voters have not held him accountable."

This was their second head-to-head race.

The 3rd Congressional District comprises Anderson, Bradley, Campbell, Hamilton, McMinn, Monroe, Morgan, Polk, Roane, Scott and Union counties.

In the 4th District, U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg, swept Democrat Lenda Sherrell, a retired CPA from Monteagle. He took 60 percent or more of the vote in parts of the 16-county district, according to unofficial results. Independent Robert Rankin Doggart picked up around 6 percent.

DesJarlais called it a "great win" with a "great margin of victory.

"We're ready to get to work on some important issues that we've been working on for four years including repealing Obamacare. And who's ready for a balanced budget?" DesJarlais said to supporters.

Sherrell congratulated DesJarlais on a "hard-fought race."

She added, "While this was not the outcome that any of us were hoping for, I am proud, very proud of the campaign we have run."

In a statement, she said DesJarlais' victory "demonstrates his continued appeal with constituents and support throughout Middle Tennessee. It is my hope that he uses his third term fighting for the priorities and including the values of residents who may share differing views."

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The two-term congressman's general election victory was far easier in the conservative Republican district after DesJarlais barely scraped through his August GOP primary by just 38 votes over state Sen. Jim Tracy, R-Shelbyville.

That came despite Tracy's use of abortion-opponent DesJarlais' past affairs with at least two patients, urging one of them to seek an abortion and going along with his former wife's two abortions.

Sherrell played up issues of "trust" and "honesty." In one television ad, she brought up domestic violence allegations from his 2001 divorce, saying that although she "forgave" DesJarlais, "we can't forget" DesJarlais' votes against renewing a domestic violence bill.

The congressman played up his record as the fourth most conservative member in the U.S. House. His ads attacked Sherrell as "Liberal Lenda," highlighting her work as a district coordinator for Organizing for Action, a group aligned with President Barack Obama, a very unpopular figure in the largely rural district.

Sherrell far outraised and outspent DesJarlais in the general election, injecting $250,000 of her own money into the campaign.

Contact staff writer Andy Sher at or 625-255-0550.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at or 423-757-6569.