Win certified for scandal-hit rep but challenger holds out

Greg Nash

Rep. Scott DesJarlais’s (R-Tenn.) primary challenger, state Sen. Jim Tracy, has still not conceded despite local officials certifying DesJarlais’s slim lead over the challenger.

The Tennesseean reports that the final of the district’s 16 counties certified their vote count Thursday night, affirming DesJarlais’s 38-vote lead over Tracy.

The certification wasn’t expected to shift the vote count, as it came from Marion County, DesJarlais’s home base, which he won by a large margin.

But it starts the countdown clock on Tracy’s final options to challenge the result, if he still wishes to do so. He has five days from certification to file a challenge with the Tennessee Republican Party. His campaign manager, Stephanie Jarnigan, gave no suggestion Thursday of his plans.

“Sen. Tracy continues to be thankful for all the support he’s received,” Jarnigan said.

Many political observers gave Tracy a strong shot at taking down DesJarlais due to scandal that marred the start of the incumbent's second term. Local reports revealed salacious details surrounding DesJarlais' divorce just before his last election — and too late for him to draw a primary challenge on that occasion.

The conservative congressman, who’s modeled himself as a family values candidate, was revealed to have urged his ex-wife to get an abortion, among other things.

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