DeAngelo Jelks

Vital wins 80% of vote in special election to succeed Carter

Republican businessman Greg Vital won 80% of the vote in the special election to serve out the term of the late state Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah). Democrat DeAngelo Jelks’ bid was rocked by an 11-hour rape allegation made against him by a woman who had worked with the campaign.

Jelks resigned from his leadership position with the Hamilton County Democratic Party, but denied the rape allegation. Jelks said he had been involved in an extramarital affair, but stressed the relationship had been consensual.

Democratic nominee for open state House seat accused of rape (UPDATED)

DeAngelo Jelks, the Democratic nominee to fill an open state House seat in Hamilton County, has been accused of rape during his campaign, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reports.

Jelks, 40, resigned as vice chair of the Hamilton County Democratic Party after a rape report was filed with the Chattanooga Police Department on Sunday. Jelks declined to comment when the newspaper visited his home on Monday.

UPDATE: Jelks admitted to having an affair, but denied the rape allegation, the newspaper reports, calling it “a consensual yet inappropriate relationship.”

City Council member Demetrus Coonrod said she was contacted by the alleged victim last week. Coonrod said she did not previously know the woman who had worked with Jelks during the campaign.

“I told her the only real way we can do anything is if she comes forward and goes to the police,” Coonrod told the paper. “So she went Sunday and met with a detective at the Family Justice Center and got a DNA swab.”

The election to serve the remainder of the term of the late Rep. Mike Carter (R-Ooltewah) is Tuesday. Jelks was unopposed in the Democratic primary, as was the Republican nominee Greg Vital.


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