published Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

DesJarlais still ahead as Tracy's quest for 4th District race votes comes up short

NASHVILLE — Republican Jim Tracy has nearly run out of counties to pick up provisional ballot votes needed to change the outcome of his 4th Congressional District GOP primary squeaker of a contest with incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais.

At this point, DesJarlais remains ahead of Tracy by 37 votes in the district, which spans all or parts of 16 counties in East and Middle Tennessee.

The Rutherford County Election Commission met today and accepted one provisional ballot in the GOP primary, an official there said.

Neither DesJarlais or Tracy benefited. The vote was for David Tate, one of several lesser-known Republican candidates.

Tracy, a state senator from Shelbyville, meanwhile, picked up one vote in Bedford County, his home county, knocking DesJarlais, a scandal-ridden South Pittsburg physician, down from 38 votes to the 37.

Election Commissions in Marion and Sequatchie are expected to meet later today to look at provisional ballots from the Aug. 7 primary contest that have yet to be counted. These include ballots cast by voters who didn't have proper ID at the polls or were not in local commission databases as eligible voters.

Meanwhile, Grundy County is awaiting information back on whether or not three voters who cast provisional ballots were registered through the state's Driver Services Division in the Department of Safety.

Regardless, DesJarlais spokesman Robert Jameson said, "we believe it's statistically impossible" for Tracy to pick the additional votes needed to win. He once again called on Tracy to admit defeat.

"At this point we believe the senator should concede for the good of the district and the Tennessee Republican Party," Jameson said.

DesJarlais led Tracy by 35 votes on election night, a tiny fraction of one percent.

Tracy's campaign has said he doesn't plan to concede until the election results are officially certified, a process that could go on until Aug. 25 in some counties.

During the campaign Tracy questioned DesJarlais' effectiveness in Congress following the post-2012 election release of the physician's divorce hearing transcript from 12 years earlier. It showed DesJarlais, who billed himself as pro-life, as having slept with two patients before his marriage ended and pressured one to get an abortion when she said she was pregnant.

Testimony also showed DesJarlais supported two abortions by his former wife prior to the couple's marriage.

about Andy Sher...

Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...

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