WASHINGTON -- Tennessee voters looked past revelations about Republican Rep. Scottt DesJarlais' past affairs with his patients -- and his demand that one get an abortion -- to vote to return him to Congress Tuesday.
DesJarlais, a physician, admitted to at least four flings during a divorce that he finalized in 2001, including one mistress he pressured to abort their love child.
DesJarlais argued that the news was old, and that he only promised to accompany the woman to Atlanta for the procedure after about four months of pregnancy because he did not believe she was pregnant.
Voters seemed to accept his explanation, and voted overwhelmingly -- 57 percent to 43 percent -- for the family values, anti-abortion Republican over Democratic state Sen. Eric Stewart.
“The voters have spoken," Stewart said in a concession statement. "I'm proud of the campaign we ran. We talked about fighting for working families, keeping promises we made to our seniors about Medicare and Social Security, and giving our men and women in uniform the support they need and deserve. The fight for those things hasn't ended, even though my campaign for Congress has. Congress needs to stop fighting and start fixing. Working families depend on it.”
The revelations of extramarital affairs galvanized Democrats, and an outside group poured $280,000 into the contest, apparently to little effect.
While DesJarlais goes back to Capitol Hill, several Republicans in his 4th Congressional District are already gearing up to challenge him in the 2014 primary.