The Washington Post

Embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais wins primary as challenger concedes


Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-Tenn., speaks to supporters after he was declared the winner of Tennessee's 4th Congressional District Republican primary race Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, in South Pittsburg, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

More than two weeks after voters went to the polls in Tennessee, embattled Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R) has officially won his primary.

Days after certified election results showed DesJarlais narrowly outpaced state Sen. Jim Tracy by 38 votes in a closely-watched primary in the 4th district, Tracy conceded Monday, citing a desire to avoid a lengthy legal battle without a clear path to erasing his margin, even as he maintained that he saw potential problems with the vote.

"I am not willing to put the State Republican Primary Board, the Secretary of State's Office and Division of Elections, the County Election Commissions, the campaign staff, my volunteers, my family and the public through additional weeks of litigation, with uncertainty as to who the nominee will be," Tracy said in a statement.

Tracy's concession ends more than two weeks of drama that started after the race was too close to call the morning after the Aug. 7 primary. It also marks a remarkable political comeback for DesJarlais, who has been weighed down by personal scandal.

DesJarlais, a physician, had extramarital affairs with patients and encouraged his then-wife to get abortions, despite campaigning as an anti-abortion conservative. The explosive details of his personal history were revealed in 2012.

He begins his general election push as an early favorite despite his personal woes, because of the district's heavy conservative tilt, and faces Democrat Lenda Sherrell in November.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Videos curated for you.
Play Videos
From clubfoot to climbing: Double amputee lives life of adventure
Learn to make traditional soup dumplings
Deaf banjo player teaches thousands
Play Videos
Unconventional warfare with a side of ale
The rise and fall of baseball cards
How to keep your child safe in the water
Play Videos
'Did you fall from heaven?': D.C.'s pick-up lines
5 ways to raise girls to be leaders
How much can one woman eat?
Play Videos
How to get organized for back to school
How to buy a car via e-mail
The signature drink of New Orleans
Next Story
Reid Wilson · August 25, 2014

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.