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VOL. 38 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 08, 2014

DesJarlais, Tracy campaigns seek legal counsel

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NASHVILLE (AP) — The campaign of scandal-battered U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais said it's consulting with election attorneys in case the incumbent's 35-vote lead over his opponent in the Republican primary is challenged.

"We want to protect the integrity of the process and when it's a close election like this, we don't know what the other party is going to do in this case," DesJarlais told WKRN-TV (http://bit.ly/1pJDgRq) over the weekend. "Unfortunately you have to reach out to make sure you are properly represented."

DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson told the television station the campaign is taking "every precaution to preserve the integrity of this result, and if that means bringing in legal counsel, we are prepared to do that."

The campaign of challenger Jim Tracy is also seeking legal counsel, according to WKRN.

The primary race for the 4th Congressional District seat remained too close to call Friday, with DesJarlais ahead of state Sen. Jim Tracy by just 35 votes in unofficial results. That number could shift as provisional ballots are counted, and the final result could drag on for weeks as election officials certify results and consider potential challenges.

DesJarlais, a physician who is currently being treated for cancer, believes the chances of Tracy prevailing are small.

"The electronic balloting is pretty secure, so those 35 votes, as small as that is, should stand," DesJarlais said from his Jasper, Tennessee office where he practiced medicine before running for Congress for the first time in 2010.

Tracy has five days from when the race is certified by the state to decide if he will challenge the results. The Shelbyville Republican has given no indication of what he will do.

His campaign issued a statement Friday night saying, "There are still ballots to be counted as we go through the certification process."

Many pundits gave DesJarlais little chance of re-election because of scandalous reports about him.

In both of his previous elections, DesJarlais tried to cast doubt on reports of violent behavior toward his ex-wife and about multiple extramarital affairs before his divorce was finalized.

But court transcripts released the week after the November 2012 election revealed that he admitted under oath that he had eight affairs, encouraged a lover to get an abortion and used a gun to intimidate his first wife during an argument.

And last year, DesJarlais was fined and reprimanded by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners in May for having sex with patients before he was elected.

When some of the reports were mentioned in his recent interview with WKRN, DesJarlais — who has been married for 12 years to his second wife — just shook his head and said, "We have gotten used to it."

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