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DesJarlais re-elected despite abortion revelations

1:14 AM, Nov 7, 2012   |    comments
Scott DesJarlais
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By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A Tennessee Republican congressman has won re-election, overcoming revelations that he had an affair with a patient and urged her to get an abortion.

Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Jasper physician before going to Congress, beat Democratic challenger Eric Stewart on Tuesday. With 76 percent of precincts reporting, DesJarlais had 111,988 votes, or 57 percent, compared with Stewart's 83,835 votes, or 43 percent.

DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, largely withdrew from public sight a month ago after the first news accounts based on his 2001 divorce emerged. His campaign used a heavy rotation of TV ads to link Stewart to President Barack Obama, an unpopular figure in the conservative 4th District.

DesJarlais' win means that all nine members of the Tennessee congressional delegation were re-elected, as was Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.

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By ERIK SCHELZIG
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais has posted a wide lead on Democratic challenger Eric Stewart, but the district's largest county is experiencing delays in counting votes.

With 67% of precincts reporting, DesJarlais had 77,095 votes, or 59%, compared with Stewart's 54,405, or 41%.

But officials in Rutherford County, where more than 100,000 people voted four years ago, were still processing absentee ballots late Tuesday, which could push a final result toward midnight.

Stewart campaign manager Kevin Teets noted that Rutherford County makes up 37% of the total votes in the 4th District.

DesJarlais' re-election bid has been rocked over the last month by revelations that the Jasper physician once had an affair with a patient and urged her to get an abortion.

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