Durham remains on ballot despite suspending campaign - WSMV News 4

Durham remains on ballot despite suspending campaign

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Jeremy Durham (WSMV File) Jeremy Durham (WSMV File)

A lawmaker accused of sexually harassing 22 women is still technically in the race for his seat, even though he announced he would be suspending his campaign.

Early voting began Friday.

Voters in Williamson County likely noticed Rep. Jeremy Durham’s name still on the ballot.

This comes a day after Durham announced he was stepping away from the campaign trail.

“I am suspending my campaign for re-election to the House of Representatives,” Durham said at a press conference Thursday.

But a voter provided the Channel 4 I-Team with a recording from late Thursday evening, just hours after the announcement. It shows Durham’s campaign ad running on television in Franklin, the district Durham represents.

The attorney general released a report Wednesday after a five-month investigation to the embattled lawmaker.

Investigators found Durham had made inappropriate sexual contact with 22 women. The alleged victims ranged from lobbyists to a 20-year-old college student who reportedly had sex with the lawmaker in his office.

Thursday, Durham denied having or attempting to have sexual contact with anyone in the report. But he did acknowledge a handful of the incidents were true.

“Right now I’m focused on spending time with my family for what has been a very difficult time for us,” Durham said.

But Durham did not resign.

According to the Williamson County Election Commission, candidates can only remove their names from the ballot a week after the filing deadline. That date passed months ago.

The state’s top campaign finance official also told the I-Team Durham has an open campaign account. There’s nothing that would stop him from accepting contributions.

Even before Thursday’s press conference, some top Republicans felt confident about Durham’s fate.

“I just got this gut feeling he won’t be re-elected,” Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey said. “It’ll save the taxpayers a lot of money.”

Ramsey said if Durham is re-elected, he will approach Speaker Beth Harwell about convening a special session to expel him.

On the Republican ticket, Durham is up against Sam Whitson and Stacy Givens.

The I-Team reached out to Durham to ask if he plans to continue his campaign if he wins the primary or if he plans on pulling his TV ads. We did not hear back by deadline.

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