Post-election disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission have pushed total spending in campaigns for Tennessee’s nine U.S. House elections — all won by incumbents — to about $15.3 million, though the congressmen collectively still have more than $6.8 million cash on hand.
Embattled 4th Congressional District Rep. Scott DesJarlais, a doctor who has dealt with controversy during and after the election over his involvement in abortions and sexual relations with patients, had the lowest cash-on-hand balance of any incumbent: $15,661.
DesJarlais spent $1,257,651 during the campaign, including $439,369 disclosed on his final report covering the last days of his race against Democrat Eric Stewart, who spent a total of $700,575.
Here’s a list by district of total expenditures and remaining balance for the other incumbent Tennessee congressmen as reported on the FEC website:
By Eric Schelzig, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — While Republican U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais may have persevered through a series of damaging revelations to win a second term in Congress, he all but exhausted his campaign account.
DesJarlais, a Jasper physician who had sexual relationships with patients and once urged one of them to seek an abortion, spent $1.25 million on his campaign to defeat Democratic challenger Eric Stewart, and was left with just $15,660 on hand when the dust settled.
DesJarlais has been left largely isolated in Congress following his victory. For example, he was the lone Republican member of Tennessee’s congressional delegation to be left off Lamar Alexander’s bid for a third term in the U.S. Senate.
But DesJarlais has rebuffed calls for his resignation or that he abandon intentions to run for another term representing the 4th Congressional District. That hasn’t stopped several Republicans from expressing interest in running for the seat, and DesJarlais’ depleted campaign coffers will do little to dissuade them from mounting a bid.
DesJarlais spent $439,639 in the final reporting period, with about $330,000 going toward TV advertising and $61,000 to direct mail. (Note: The FEC website says his total spending for the campaign was $1,257,629; the remaining balance, $15,660.)
During his 2010 and 2012 campaigns, DesJarlais tried to cast doubt on reports of violent behavior and multiple affairs before his divorce was finalized in 2001. But court transcripts released the week after the election showed he admitted to eight affairs, encouraged a lover to get an abortion and used a gun to intimidate his ex-wife during an argument.
The sworn testimony also revealed for the first time that the congressman had agreed when his ex-wife had two abortions. DesJarlais publicly opposes abortion rights.
The Tennessee Department of Health has begun an investigation into a complaint filed by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington that DesJarlais should be disciplined for conducting an inappropriate sexual relationship with a patient. The watchdog group has also filed an ethics complaint in the U.S. House.
Among the other freshman Republicans who won second terms, Rep. Diane Black of Gallatin was left with $336,203 on hand after spending $3.2 million in the cycle, including $1 million in loans repaid to herself from her 2010 bid. Chattanooga Rep. Chuck Fleischmann had about $51,000 on hand, while Rep. Steven Fincher of Halls had $1.5 million.
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Bob Corker says he’s developed a plan to reform taxes and balance the federal budget, but he’s not planning to release details until after the election.
He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press (http://bit.ly/MsHQTd) on Monday that his plan will both cut entitlement spending and raise more money.
Corker said he intends to keep his “soup to nuts” plan private until after the presidential election is settled but he’s submitted a draft for review by congressional budget staff. The Chattanooga Republican said he thinks his proposal can provide a path to compromise between Republicans who want to cut spending and Democrats who want to raise taxes.
Corker is seeking re-election but doesn’t face a strong challenge in the Aug. 2 primary or Nov. 6 general election.
UPDATE: Corker’s latest campaign TV ad makes reference to the secret plan. Watch it HERE.
Text of Corker’s remarks in the commercial:
“I’m working hard to change the way Washington does business.
Putting a stop to endless deficit spending, a stop to all the unnecessary regulation.
We need a simpler, pro-growth tax system that encourages job creation, giving every Tennessean a chance to earn a good living or create a great business in an America that always lives within its means.
We don’t really have a choice.
That’s what we have to do.
I’m Bob Corker, and I approve this message.”