Update, 2:22 p.m.: DesJarlais is up by 35 votes, according to unofficial vote tallies from the Associated Press and the Tennessee Secretary of State office, according to Politico.
Update, 11:15 a.m.: Now, according to the Associated Press, state Sen. Jim Tracy is up by two votes.
AP now has Jim Tracy up by two (2) votes over Scott Desjarlais in TN-04.— Reid J. Epstein (@reidepstein) August 8, 2014
Original: Rep. Scott DesJarlais, the pro-life Republican candidate who encouraged his ex-wife and his mistress to get multiple abortions, is caught in one of the closest primaries of the year. All precincts in Tennessee's 4th District have reported their tallies, and he's up by 33 votes. The race has not been called, and provisional and absentee ballots are being counted.
Pundits expected DesJarlais to get crushed after his campaign funds dried up (his opponent out raised him by $1 million) when everyone learned the sordid details of his personal life. Court documents showed that DesJarlais admitted to at least eight multiple affairs, encouraged abortions and threatened his ex-wife with a gun during a fight. The former practicing physician was also fined and reprimanded by the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners for having sex with his patients.
And yet his opponent, state Sen. Jim Tracy couldn't pull out a win. According to WKRN, both candidates declared victory at one point in the night, though the Associated Press had yet to call the race.
In a Facebook post, Tracy said "there are ballots left to be counted in the Fourth District Republican primary. We eagerly await the final outcome once the counting is completed and verified." But it could be weeks until the election's results are official, especially if a challenge is mounted. As The Washington Post notes, Tennessee's "vague" election laws allow officials to conduct a recount in the event of a tie, fraud, or malfunction.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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