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TN-4: Scott DesJarlais Must Go

It’s not enough to vote conservative.  We need members of Congress to live the lives of conservatives.  At a time when every aspect of our traditional American value system is under assault, we need strong leaders who can defend those values through word and deed.

What has long distinguished our party from the Democrats is that we don’t tolerate immorality among our ranks.  Adultery should not serve as a resume enhancer.

To that end, conservatives have a golden opportunity in midland Tennessee to show the country that we live by the standard to which we have set for ourselves.  Scott DesJarlais, who was elected to serve conservative TN-4 in 2010, has taken the word hypocrisy to a new level.  For those who have not heard the story by now, here is what the Chattanooga Times Free Press obtained from DesJarlais’ divorce records last November, after they were leaked by the local Democrats:

A decade before calling himself “a consistent supporter of pro-life values,” Tennessee physician and Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais supported his ex-wife’s decision to get two abortions before their marriage, according to the congressman’s sworn testimony during his divorce trial.

Obtained by the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the couple’s 2001 trial transcript also confirms DesJarlais had sexual relationships with at least two patients, three coworkers and a drug representative while he was chief of staff at Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, Tenn. During one affair with a female patient, DesJarlais prescribed her drugs, gave her an $875 watch and bought her a plane ticket to Las Vegas, records show. [...]

The 679-page transcript reveals new details about DesJarlais’ interactions with a 24-year-old-patient, who claimed she became pregnant with DesJarlais’ child during a short fling in 2000 and that the doctor later pressed her to have an abortion.

DesJarlais, who is now 48 years old, admitted in court to pressuring the woman over the phone to get an abortion, but said the whole conversation was a scheme orchestrated by him and his wife — with whom he had reconciled — to get the 24-year-old to admit she was not really pregnant.

“She goes, ‘I will have an abortion. This will never be a problem of yours,’” DesJarlais said. “And I think that she was trying to get me to pay her money and I refused to because there was no proof of the pregnancy.”

There’s not much to say here other than we don’t need this black mark on our brand.  TN-4 should provide us with the first opportunity to throw out a weak incumbent and replace him with one of our guys.  Several people have already announced or expressed interest in a primary challenge.  While anyone would be better than the incumbent, we would be wise to use this opportunity to insert one more member who is not committed to playing ball with GOP leadership.  I’ll be working at the Madison Project and with others to evaluate the candidates in the coming months.  Let’s work together on this and make sure we don’t squander this opportunity.

Parting observation:  Tim Huelskamp was kicked off the Agriculture Committee, even though he is a farmer, lives in one of the most Ag districts in the country – one which sent a rep to that committee for 151 years, has a Ph.D. with a dissertation on Ag policy.  Yet, a man who was philandering and urged his mistresses to get an abortion still remains on that committee.  Leadership and members of the Steering Committee should be ashamed.

Cross-posted from The Madison Project

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