NASHVILLE - Actress Ashley Judd is lending some of her star power in a new fundraising appeal for Democrat Eric Stewart in his 4th Congressional District contest with U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn.
"For as far back as I remember, politicians have gotten a bad reputation for saying one thing and doing another," Judd, a Democratic activist, says in an email sent this weekend on behalf of Stewart. "And, this past week Congressman Scott DesJarlais proved why."
Judd was referring to the controversy over the emergence of a 2000 transcript from DesJarlais' divorce in which the physician encourages a former patient with whom he slept to seek an abortion.
"Whether or not we agree or disagree with the issue of abortion, we need to trust our elected leaders that they are who they say they are," Judd says in the email, distributed by the Stewart campaign.
DesJarlais, first elected in 2010, has said he knew the woman wasn't pregnant and he was using "strong" language to get her to admit it.
There was no pregnancy and there was no abortion, says the congressman, who notes he has been happily married for 10 years since his divorce. He is urging his supporters to judge him on who he is today.
DesJarlais, who is from Jasper, Tenn., had a huge cash advantage over Stewart as of Sept. 30, according to Federal Election Commission filings. DesJarlais reported a $599,163 balance, while Stewart, of Winchester, Tenn., said he had $84,849 on hand.