You may or may not recognize his name, but you have probably seen some of his extreme and crazy positions and statements over the years. Unfortunately, my State Senator, Stacey Campfield is a complete and utter buffoon, who has among other things has (1) sponsored legislation to tie welfare benefits to children's grades, (2) sponsored legislation known as the "don't say gay bill" that barred teachers from discussing sexuality with their students and also required teachers to inform parents if their child is gay, (3) sponsored legislation that would require drug testing for people who receive welfare benefits yet opposed legislation requiring drug testing for lawmakers who receive state paychecks, (4) stated that HIV/AIDS originated from "one guy screwing a monkey, if I recall correctly" and (5) compared signing people up for healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act to Germans putting Jew on trains to take them to concentration camps. He has been featured numerous times on The Daily Show, including this particularly hilarious clip discussing his legislation tying welfare benefits to grades. Obviously, I do not like the fact that this idiot is my State Senator. So I have to consider all my options on having him replaced.
More below the Fold:
Unfortunately the District that I reside in is extremely Republican, and is highly unlikely to elect a Democrat. In the 2012 Presidential Election, President Obama received only 36.7% of the two party vote in Tennessee's 7th State Senate District. Additionally, in 2010 Democratic candidate Randy McNally ran against Mr. Campfield by openly soliciting the votes of moderate Republicans and was trounced 57% to 37 %. As such, the truth of the matter is that it will be extremely difficult if not impossible the Democratic candidate to win this seat in the general election. Make no mistake, Cheri Siler has my support in general election regardless of who wins the Republican primary. However, I am also a realist, and I understand that the odds weight heavily against her winning in the general election. Furthermore, she is running unopposed in the Democratic primary, and the only contested election in the Democratic primary on August 7, 2014 that will be on my ballot is the U.S. Senate race, which is almost certainly destined to be won by Lamar Alexander in the General election.
The GOP candidate that has the best shot of knocking off Stacey Campfield is Dr. Richard Briggs. Dr. Briggs is certainly less likely to sponsor ridiculous legislation such as the "Don't say gay bill" and bills tying welfare benefits to grades, but he is nonetheless wrong on almost all of the issues. He is also less likely to make ridiculous comments and wind up being featured on either The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. With him as a State Senator I wouldn't be represented by a complete and total buffoon. However, a review of his positions reveals that he is likely to vote in the same manner that Stacey Campfield would on all of the important issues. On his website he proclaims that he is "100% Pro-Life and Pro-2nd Amendment, always opposed to any tax increase, and 100% opposed to Obamacare." In a recent mailer from his campaign that I received, he also stated that he opposed Medicaid expansion in Tennessee, where 161,650 will remain uninsured because of the refusal of our Governor and our State legislature to expand Medicaid despite the fact that Medicaid expansion will be paid for in full by the Federal Government through 2016 when the matching rate will phase down to a permanent 90% in 2020.
My inclination is to vote in the Democratic primary to demonstrate support for Cheri Siler and to play a role in deciding who will be the Democratic candidate in the statewide U.S. Senate Election. The top two candidates in the U.S. Senate election are Terry Adams and Gordon Ball. I remain undecided between the two as both have certain positions I agree with and others that I slightly disagree with. (Any suggestions on who you support and why in the U.S. Senate primary in Tennessee are also welcome). My reasoning behind my inclination to vote in the Democratic primary is that although Dr. Briggs would probably not be quite such an embarrassment, he would be only nominally better than Stacey Campfield. And on the issues that he is nominally better than Campfield on, the truth is that none of Campfield's controversial pieces of legislation have passed. I would be more inclined to cross over and support Dr. Briggs if he were appreciably better than Campfield. For example, if Dr. Briggs supported Medicaid expansion as many other Republicans have done even as he maintained his overall opposition to Obamacare, I would seriously consider crossing over and voting for him. But as it is I will probably be voting in the Democratic primary. If Doctor Briggs supported marriage equality, or if he supported an increase in the minimum wage I may consider voting for him. However, from what I can tell he isn't on the right side of any of these important issues. Nonetheless, because I really can't stand Stacey Campfield, and I would love to see him replaced as my State Senator I am open to any suggestions to the contrary to my initial inclination.
Any and all thoughts on this dilemma are welcome.