A Tennessee Republican congressman has won re-election, overcoming revelations that he had an affair with a patient and urged her to get an abortion.
Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a Jasper physician before going to Congress, beat Democratic challenger Eric Stewart on Tuesday. With 95 percent of precincts reporting, DesJarlais had 126,751 votes, or 56 percent, compared with Stewart's 99,823 votes, or 44 percent.
DesJarlais, who opposes abortion rights, largely withdrew from public sight a month ago after the first news accounts based on his 2001 divorce emerged. His campaign used a heavy rotation of TV ads to link Stewart to President Barack Obama, an unpopular figure in the conservative 4th District.
DesJarlais' win means that all nine members of the Tennessee congressional delegation were re-elected, as was Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker.
But officials in Rutherford County, where more than 100,000 people voted four years ago, were still processing absentee ballots late Tuesday, which could push a final result toward midnight.
Stewart campaign manager Kevin Teets noted that Rutherford County makes up 37 percent of the total votes in the 4th District.
Rutherford County Election Commissioner Ransom Jones said they are attempting to get the absentee and early voting totals counted by 10:30 p.m. and all precincts by midnight.
Eric Stewart issued the following statement late Tuesday:
"The voters have spoken. 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."
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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