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New Poll has Rep. Scott DesJarlis (R-TN) under 50 and up only 5 points on his Democratic opponent.
When the Huffington Post broke the story that anti-choice Republican Congressman Scott DesJarlais was cajoling his mistress to get an abortion, I didn't expect much to happen. After all, moral hypocrisy and ethical misbehavior mean nothing to Republicans unless Democrats do it. I certainly didn't expect him to do the right thing and resign.

However, the story is getting a great deal of coverage in local media. After all, reporters were expecting this heavily Republican district to vote for the incumbent in deep red Tennessee. The scandal is causing headaches for DesJarlais that may be putting his seat in jeopardy:

  • 1. Tennessee conservative activists are calling for his resignation.
  • 2. DesJarlais is a doctor. The mistress whom he impregnated was a patient. Accordingly, an ethics complaint has been filed against him with the Tennessee Department of Health.
  • 3. Tennessee Republican heavyweights are running from him. Sen. Bob Corker, Sen. Lamar Alexander and Gov. Bill Haslam have declined to offer support when questioned by the press.
  • 4. Mitt Romney scrubbed his website of DesJarlais' endorsement.
  • 5. DesJarlais' Democratic opponent, state Sen. Eric Stewart, blasted DesJarlais over the scandal and is making the simple argument that DesJarlais is unfit for public office and can't be trusted.
  • 6. DesJarlais has a huge money advantage, but is now advertising heavily in the district and going negative on Stewart ... a clear sign of trouble in a heavily Republican district.

Now a new poll has been released showing DesJarlais under 50 trending down:

"This is ... frankly a tectonic shift. The plates have moved, and this has become an extremely competitive race," said pollster Andrew Myers. "In fact, it's a dead heat today."

He said the most striking feature of the survey was that the attitude of likely voters towards the incumbent had shifted from mostly warm to decidedly chilly.

"It's one of the most profound drops I've seen in a very long time, Myers said. "Among women, both older and younger, it has been a free fall."

The poll also noted Mitt Romney leading President Obama in the district 56 to 38.

Honestly, I don't know enough about Eric Stewart to throw my support behind him or encourage you to do the same. So far he's been wishy washy on women's reproductive rights. And he's one of these "rein in the spending" type of Democrats according to his website. But I do know this: He isn't a scumbag like Scott DesJarlais. If we see other polls showing this race is now truly competitive, then this might be a pickup we just might be able to pull off.

Congratulations to Huffington Post reporter Michael McAuliff for breaking this story and following up. Great job, Mike!

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Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Wed Oct 17, 2012 at 05:53 PM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks, Nashville KosKats, and Southern Action.

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