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August 13, 2008

Davis Could Contest Loss

After a narrow 500-vote loss in the primary in his northeast Tennessee First District, freshman Republican David Davis is leaving the door open for a challenge of the results, according to a statement posted on Davis' campaign website.

In the statement, Davis cites evidence that his campaign says shows Democrats and independents voted for his primary opponent, Johnson City Mayor Phil Roe. "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 says.

Citing California Democratic Party v. Jones, a Supreme Court case that found open primary contests in violation of a political party's First Amendment right of association, the campaign alleges "a well-funded and systematic effort by outside parties to pervert the Republican primary process." The case was used to eliminate an open primary in Washington state.

"Anecdotal evidence shows that many voters who have never voted in the Republican Primary chose a Republican ballot this time," Davis added in the statement. Tennessee law, the campaign says, requires primary voters to declare allegiance to a political party or already be a member in good standing. Based on an early analysis of voters who cost Davis the race, "we are considering challenging the results of the recent primary through the process allowed under state law," he said.

The campaign has yet to actually determine whether or not to contest the results. Regardless of the outcome, the Republican nominee would be heavily favored in November. The district has not voted for a Democrat for Congress in more than 100 years.