Like a pack of starving animals with a slab of bloody meat, Tennessee Democrats are all over this DesJarlais sex scandal. In only their latest attacks, they’ve produced this nasty video, put Republican leaders on the spot by demanding that they renounce the congressman, and made an Open Records Act request for a text message that DesJarlais supposedly sent to Gov. Bill Haslam right after the news broke. From the Dems’ press release:
“Rep. DesJarlais only wants to discuss his illegal and unethical affair with a patient behind closed doors, but citizens and voters have a right to know whether their public officials have honored the law and their professional code of ethics.” TNDP Chairman Chip Forrester said. “The governor should show some leadership and put his foot down; it’s unethical and simply unacceptable for Rep. Desjarlais to have sex with his patients.
“Unfortunately Gov. Haslam has repeatedly shown he’s unwilling to hold members of his party accountable,” Forrester said. “Regardless of Gov. Haslam’s reluctance to seriously address the issue, we are confident voters will ensure there are consequences for Desjarlais’ extramarital affairs with one of his patients.”
We asked the governor’s press secretary, Dave Smith, whether Haslam intended to surrender the text, and he replied noncommittally as per usual: “We’re working on their request.”
Democrats privately acknowledge this is a fishing expedition. All they know is that Haslam told reporters Desjarlais texted him. DesJarlais might have typed nothing more revealing than, "Hey gov, can we talk?"
Next, Democrats tell Pith, they plan to file a court motion to unseal all the rest of the records in DesJarlais’ juicy decade-old divorce case. It’s this case—the gift that keeps on giving!—that has produced most of the mud that Democrats have been joyously slinging at DesJarlais since he made the mistake of entering the public arena four years ago.
Despite all this, DesJarlais' opponent, Eric Stewart, remains an underdog and probably will lose. So for all their trouble, Tennessee Democrats might only wind up humiliated yet again, this time for failing to oust a congressman who did just about everything within his power to make himself disgusting to the whole world.
Update: Democrats go to court to unseal DesJarlais' divorce records, hoping to dig up yet more embarrassing details before the election or at least keep the story alive for another news cycle. The party's lawyer Gerald Stranch says, "There’s no other way to know what else he’s hiding.”