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Grundy County May Be Key In DesJarlais-Tracy Vote

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Grundy County May Be Key In DesJarlais-Tracy Vote

By Ben Hall. CREATED Aug 18, 2014 - UPDATED: Aug 18, 2014

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A tiny Tennessee county could take center stage in the bitter Fourth Congressional Republican primary.

More than a week after election day, Congressman Scott DesJarlais is clinging to a 38-vote lead over his challenger, state Sen. Jim Tracy.

All 16 counties in the district will have certified their election results by Thursday.

After that, the losing candidate has five days to challenge the outcome.

If the race is challenged, Grundy County, which cast fewer than 1,000 votes, may become critically important.

On Election night, Tracy boldly declared that he had won.

"We've counted all the counties," Tracy said. "We know where we are. We are up by 1,900 votes with Grundy County out."

Grundy County being out became very important.

After Grundy reported its results, and other counties finished reporting their totals, Tracy fell behind by 35 votes.

Some Tracy supporters question why Grundy waited so long to release its results.

When the county did, DesJarlais won big: 736 votes to 197. 

Tracy supporters also question the wide margin of victory.

Attorneys for both campaigns now have access to records of every person who voted, and they're making sure they were properly registered and voted in the correct precinct.

Those questions are important because if Tracy challenges the race, the 66 members of the Republican Executive Committee will decide who wins.

They could overturn the entire election, just as the Democratic Executive Committee did in 2008.

Democrats voided Sen. Rosalind Kurita's 19-vote victory and appointed Tim Barnes the winner.

On election night, Tracy was so sure he had won, that he did not even wait for DesJarlais to call and concede.

NewsChannel 5 Investigates asked, "Why not just wait for him to call you?"

Tracy responded, "We were ready to go. People were here and we were ready. We knew he couldn't catch up and knew that it was time."

DesJarlais has called on Tracy to concede, saying he can't overcome the 38-vote deficit.

Ben Hall

Ben Hall

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Ben Hall is a veteran reporter at NewsChannel 5. He has covered the state legislature, presidential campaigns and is presently part of NewsChannel 5's award-winning investigative unit.