Democrats are seeing an opening to pick up a rare southern House seat after Tennessee Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais admitted having an affair.
A Democrat super PAC has now thrown in $100,000 to support state Sen. Eric Stewart in a district which until the past few days was not expected to be competitive, The Hill
DesJarlais' admission that, when he was working as a doctor in 2000, he had an affair with a patient, and suggestions that he asked her to have an abortion have suddenly thrown the seat wide open.
A new ad for Stewart even starts with a clip from one of DesJarlais’ own ads, The Hill reports, saying “As a doctor, Scott DesJarlais earned his patients’ trust,” before cutting away to news reports of his affair.
DesJarlais unseated Democrat Lincoln Davis in 2010 capturing 57 percent of the vote. He is aligned with the tea party and has been staunchly pro-life during his time in Congress.
He admits the affair and that he spoke to his mistress about an abortion in a phone call that was recorded. However he says he only suggested he would accompany her to an Atlanta abortion clinic in a bid to get her to admit she wasn’t really pregnant.
Stewart’s campaign says internal polling shows he has climbed to within five percentage points of DesJarlais in the Fourth District which covers much of the rural part of Eastern and Middle Tennessee.
DesJarlais, who has three children with his second wife, is also facing an ethics complaint with the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners over the affair.
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