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Tracy Concedes to DesJarlais in Congressional TN 4th District Primary Race

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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (Sky Arnold) -- When State Senator Jim Tracy announced he was challenging Congressman Scott Desjarlais last year he didn't shy away from his opponent's personal history.

"Scott Desjarlais has betrayed and deceived his constituents," said Desjarlais in a 2013 press conference.

Tracy was addressing reports Desjarlais had sexual relationships with patients and extramarital affairs and even asked a former girlfriend to have an abortion.

The Congressman survived similar criticisms in his 2012 race and now he's survived once again winning the Republican primary by just 38 votes.

After weeks of uncertainty Tracy conceded the race Monday.

"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," said Tracy.

"I want to thank the people of Tennessee's Fourth Congressional District for once again putting their faith in my ability to serve them; I promise I will never take that trust for granted," said Desjarlais in a statement.

Vanderbilt political scientist Bruce Oppenheimer says despite the close primary, there's no reason to believe Desjarlais is in for a tough general election.

"It's a district that has a heavy Republican lean," said Oppenheimer. "It's hard to think Tracy supporters who voted in this Republican primary are gonna vote for a Democratic candidate.  I don't see that happening in large numbers."

Making the campaign especially difficult for Democrats, Oppenheimer says, is the fact the 4th District is large and touches multiple media markets.

Still Democratic candidate Lenda Sherrell says there are enough moderate independent voters out there for her to win.

Sherrell is reaching out to those voters with a message that's not focussing on Desjarlais's past but rather on his constituents' present.

"Families in this district are working harder than ever and have less to show for it," said Sherrell.


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