Tennessee’s Davis May Contest Loss

Posted August 13, 2008 at 4:36pm

Rep. David Davis (R-Tenn.), who was narrowly defeated in a GOP primary last week, issued a statement Tuesday leaving the door open to challenging the Aug. 7 election results.

Davis lost by 500 votes to Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe (R), who had also run in the crowded open-seat primary that Davis won in 2006.

In his statement, Davis alleges a “well-funded and systematic effort by outside parties” to encourage Democrats to vote in the GOP primary and to vote against Davis.

“I believe that there is clear and overwhelming evidence that the integrity of this primary was violated unlawfully by huge numbers of Democrats voting to change the outcome of the Republican primary,” Davis said in a statement posted on his campaign Web site.

The statement said a full analysis of the primary vote was not yet complete because voter totals were not yet available. But an initial review of the balloting through witnesses and anecdotal evidence showed that many voters who had never voted in the GOP primary before did so this time, the freshman lawmaker said.

“Similarly, many voters who had a history of voting to choose the nominee of the Democrat Primary chose a Republican ballot this time and many of these were in areas in which Dr. Roe saw heavy support,” he said. “Because of this evidence, we are considering challenging the results of the recent primary through the process allowed under state law.”

Davis alleged that robocalls and e-mails were sent to Democrats in the district encouraging them to vote in the GOP primary.

Under Tennessee law, according to the campaign, voters must be bona fide members of the political party in whose primary they seek to cast a ballot.

“If we decide to go forward with a formal contest of the election results, we will file it with the state party primary board within the five days after certification of the election required by state law,” Davis said.