Squaring Off Over Divorce, Family Favoritism in Tennessee's 4th District

Blue Dog Democrats are engaged in tough re-election battles across the country, but perhaps no such struggle has gotten more personal than Rep. Lincoln Davis's campaign in central/Eastern Tennessee.

The political parties in Washington, D.C. are squaring off in Davis's district with a pair of ad campaigns that attack both Davis and his Republican challenger, Scott DesJarlais, a doctor running for elected office for the first time.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has begun airing the ad below, drawing from court documents in DesJarlais' decade-old divorce case, in which his ex-wife's attorney alleged that DesJarlais "became violent and threatening, dry firing a gun outside the locked bedroom door" and "holding a gun in his mouth for three hours," according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DesJarlais denied the incident ever occurred, telling the Times Free Press:

"It was a long drawn-out divorce and at a time when you are with a person who knows you best they can also say the most hurtful things and I don't think that is unusual in a divorce," DesJarlais said. "But in his ad, (Davis) says I have a history of violent, threatening behavior. There's no history and no documents that indicate that."

Meanwhile, the National Republican Congressional Committee has fired back by airing an ad accusing Davis of something akin to misguided nepotism: writing a letter of recommendation for his niece's husband to join the state police force, despite a previous drug conviction and charges of assault and shoplifting. Davis has said he did not know his niece's husband had a criminal record when he wrote he letter, a common task for him as a state senator.

See the Times Free Press for more.