WASHINGTON -- The sudden tightening in the Tennessee contest against an anti-abortion congressman who had an affair with a patient and urged her to get an abortion is prompting a Democratic-aligned super PAC to pump $100,000 and a new TV ad into the race.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R), a Tea Party freshman who is also a Tennessee physician, admitted he had an affair with his patient in 2000, and that he pressed her for an abortion in a phone call that was recorded and transcribed. But he also insists he was not convinced that she was pregnant, and that she never had an abortion. He argued that his demands for an abortion were merely attempts to get her to confess.
An internal poll by DesJarlais' Democratic opponent, state Sen. Eric Stewart, found Wednesday that Stewart had closed to within 5 points of DesJarlais, and that voters by a 2-to-1 margin were less likely to back the incumbent Republican as they learned about his past.
As of the end of September, however, Stewart's campaign had just $85,000 in its bank account to deliver that message, making the new ad coming out Friday evening especially timely. Backed by House Majority PAC, the spot is called "Trust" and will run in the Nashville and Chattanooga markets.
It features devastating clips from local news reports after The Huffington Post broke the story. It closes with the tagline: "Scott DesJarlais: He shouldn't be representing us."
“Scott DesJarlais’ incredible hypocrisy is just staggering,” said House Majority PAC executive director Alixandria Lapp. “Tennesseans deserve better than Scott DesJarlais, for whom touting the values of trust and faith was nothing more than lip service.”
DesJarlais is also facing an ethics complaint with the Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners, which deems intimate relationships between doctors and patients to be sexual misconduct.
WATCH the ad:
Michael McAuliff covers Congress and politics for The Huffington Post. Talk to him on Facebook.