Republican congressional candidate Scott DesJarlais backed out of a scheduled debate against U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis Monday night, proving the Republican is dodging questions about his disturbing past.
“Mr. DesJarlais obviously doesn’t want to answer questions about his unfaithful and violent behavior and is unable to convey to voters why he wants to represent them in Congress,” Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said. “Anyone who wants to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives should be able to talk about the issues in a public forum.”
After agreeing to debate Davis in a McMinnville forum organized by the Southern Standard newspaper and public radio station WCPI-FM 91.3, DesJarlais, a Jasper physician, canceled at the last minute, claiming he should not be expected to answer questions about his past.
DesJarlais was involved in a bitter divorce a decade ago in which his ex-wife accused him of harassment, intimidation and physical abuse, according to a series of motions filed in Marion County Chancery Court.
“Scott DesJarlais’ unwillingness to stand up and answer the tough questions tells us all we need to know,” Forrester said. “Innocent people with the evidence to prove it don’t usually take the fifth, but Scott DesJarlais would rather back out of debates than face the facts of his disturbing and dangerous record.”
The McMinnville newspaper admonished DesJarlais over the weekend about ducking his “responsibility to the voters.”
“If DesJarlais expected a pillow fight, he should have never entered the race,” the newspaper’s editorial said. “If he can’t stand up and face a couple questions from Lincoln Davis, is this really the guy we want determining how the U.S. should handle North Korea and Iran?
“But the bottom line is accountability and a sense of responsibility to the voters. If you don’t have enough respect for the people of the 4th District to show up for a debate and express your views, why do you deserve our vote?”