NASHVILLE - Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais easily won re-election Tuesday, overcoming revelations that, as a physician, he had affairs with at least two patients a dozen years ago and pressed one of the women about getting an abortion.
Unofficial results show the conservative Jasper congressman, who has run two campaigns as an anti-abortion advocate, won the 16-county 4th Congressional District contest with 55.94 percent of the vote versus 44.06 percent for Democrat Eric Stewart, a Winchester state senator.
"For the second election in a row, my opponents and the liberal media have tried to ignore the problems facing our nation and instead concentrate solely on a 14-year-old divorce," DesJarlais said in a statement.
He said Tuesday's results "clearly show that Tennesseans want leaders in Washington who are focused on providing solutions that will ensure a brighter future for our country."
Late Tuesday night, DesJarlais was well ahead of Stewart - even beating Stewart in his home county of Franklin. But election night foul-ups in tallying totals by Rutherford County, the district's largest county, prevented DesJarlais from declaring victory until today.
DesJarlais has acknowledged the accuracy of a transcript of a 2000 telephone conversation in which he press a former patient with whom he had had an affair to get an abortion. But the congressman said he knew the woman wasn't pregnant and he was using "strong language" in an effort to get her to admit it.
A second patient last month told the Times Free Press that she had dated DesJarlais and the physician had prescribed her drugs and used marijuana with her.
Both episodes came in the midst of DesJarlais' years-long bitter divorce with then-wife Susan. During his first campaign in 2010, DesJarlais was attacked by Democrats over allegations his then wife made about erratic behavior.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Times Free Press.