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Conservatives organizing against GOP rep.

Oct. 16, 2012 at 2:10 PM   |   Comments

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., Oct. 16 (UPI) -- Conservative groups in Tennessee say they are looking into whether to demand Republican Rep. Scott DesJarlais resign for pressing a woman to get an abortion.

The Huffington Post published a transcript of a telephone conversation between DesJarlais -- a medical doctor who was elected in 2010 as part of the Tea Party electoral wave -- and a patient with whom he allegedly had been having an extramarital affair. The website said the transcript had been under seal as part of a divorce case, and its authenticity had been independently verified.

"You told me you'd have an abortion, and now we're getting to(o) far along without one," the transcript quotes DesJarlais as saying.

Initially, DesJarlais' office called the story "old news from the last election cycle" but DesJarlais subsequently acknowledged he showed "poor judgment" in having an affair with the woman 12 years ago, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Tuesday.

Tennessee Conservative Union President Lloyd Daugherty told the newspaper Monday he's consulting with other Republican-leaning groups -- which he did not identify -- about whether to demand DesJarlais resign from Congress.

"We're very upset that he's broken his medical creed and the trust of the citizens of his district," Daugherty said.

The Tennessee Conservative Union did not endorse DesJarlais in the 2010 election, citing questions about his personal life, the newspaper said.

DesJarlais noted Daugherty supported Democrat Lincoln Davis in 2010.

"I'll stand on my conservative record of lower taxes, reduced deficits, and repealing Obamacare," he said.

DesJarlais told the newspaper last week he pressed his former patient to have an abortion to get her to admit she was not pregnant.

The watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Monday it has filed a complaint with the Tennessee Department of Health over DesJarlais' relationship with the patient.

DesJarlais issued a message to supporters Friday saying he isn't trying to "justify my actions or say I am without fault. But I am not the hypocrite my opponents and some liberal media outlets are portraying me as."

Tennessee Right to Life declined to endorse DesJarlais after he did not return a questionnaire sent to candidates this summer, The (Nashville) Tennessean said.

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