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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.

Originally posted to bhouston79 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 07:51 PM PDT.

Also republished by Three Star Kossacks.

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Should I

47%9 votes
36%7 votes
15%3 votes

| 19 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    We have nothing to fear but fear itself

    by bhouston79 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 07:51:50 PM PDT

  •  Now why would you want to deprive Jon Stewart (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bhouston79

    of decent material? Especially since the other guy will be just as harmful in the State Senate.

    Seriously, I think that Party members should vote in their own primaries. I don't like crossover voting, regardless of the reasoning. I hate, absolutely hate, that California has dispensed with party primaries and has gone with the top two vote getters to face off in the general.

    But, that is just me.

    Oh oh, I hope THAT doesn't end up in someone's sig line! :) - kos

    by Susan Grigsby on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:09:41 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the feedback. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      marykk, bythesea, Susan from 29

      I am certainly inclined to follow your advice.  I don't like cross over voting either.  However, when you live in a bright red state like Tennessee, sometimes all of the decisions as to who serves in public office end up being made in the Republican primary.  That's the unfortunate reality of the situation that I have to deal with as a Democrat in a bright red state.

      We have nothing to fear but fear itself

      by bhouston79 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:15:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I hear that. I live in a deep red district of a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bhouston79

        deep blue state. I know that the Republican is going to win every time and if they can find a Democrat to run for the CD, there is not a hope in hell of him ever being elected. The open primary has just made it harder for one to appear on November's ballot.

        I don't envy you your decision.

        Oh oh, I hope THAT doesn't end up in someone's sig line! :) - kos

        by Susan Grigsby on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:20:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Hold it right there. (0+ / 0-)

        I'm actually working on a piece right now about the danger presented by crossover voting in Tennessee. In the meanwhile, I'll tell you two things.

        One: Don't get suckered into the current misconception that Tennessee is a solid red state. Take some time to read a piece that Jack Neely did in 2012 for Metro Pulse called "Tennessee's Red State Blues". I came across it somewhere between hearing Park Overall's heartfelt query in her 2012 Jackson Day keynote: "Where is the Democratic party of my youth?!" and fleeing for the refuge of the Left Coast after a painful year spent mired in election year politics of the tea party strangled remnants of my home state. Neely's in-depth analysis of the history of Tennessee's electoral leanings may just remind you that all is not lost and that the current flush of red is bound to give way sooner or later. The pendulum always swings back.

        Two: There was another Metro Pulse piece recently that asked: "Who Votes? Siler Versus Campfield Could be a Race, if Democrats Voted" where Frank Cagle looks at the numbers and maintains that:

        "...if all the Democrats in Knox County who came out to vote in the presidential primary came to the polls in local elections, the Democrats could take over Knox County."

        I'll take that a step further. I don't think that it's simply a matter of getting them to the polls but of getting them to vote on their side of the ballot. Crossover voting has a tendency to skew the numbers and makes Tennessee's Democratic electorate appear much weaker than it actually is. There has become such an assumption that they can't win that they try to influence the presumed outcome in any way that they can, even if it means abandoning Democratic candidates to vote Republican. Having worked as a strategist and organizer on campaigns from Florida to California, I can tell you from experience what I've learned about voter perception. If TN Dems continue to feel that they are swimming alone in a sea of red, they will continue to either stay home or ballot-hop---either is disastrous for the party and the candidates. A strong showing of support for Democratic candidates in the primaries can and does motivate more voters to the polls in the general election. The GOP feels pretty confident in their grasp on Tennessee which inevitably leads to a degree of laziness on behalf of their party voters---especially in a mid-term. This can be the advantage that TN Dems need to pull off an upset---just as Cagle describes. But the unfortunate reality is that this mid-term is the one shot you're gonna have for a while to get Dems into some of these seats and is likely to be the last hope to regain some balance of power that you'll see for a few years. All indications point to Hillary in 2016 and you and I both know that her name on the ballot will bring Republicans and right-leaning independents to the polls in droves just for the sake of voting against her---similar to what happened with Obama. While working on his campaign there, I spoke with a 96-year-old woman who had never voted in her life but came down off the mountain long enough to vote against the black man. The response will be no different for Hillary---in fact---it could very well be worse.

        It is a tough call and an unenviable decision that you have to make but, from what I'm seeing, Republicans themselves are so fed up with Campfield that I truly believe you can leave them to sort it out amongst themselves. Aside from helping to motivate Democratic voters to the polls in November, showing support for Cheri Siler in the primaries gives potential donors confidence in her campaign which could ultimately be a deciding factor in her race against either Campfield or Briggs.

        A side note on the Senate race: Again, a seemingly tough call. Terry Adams initially caught my attention in that he reminds me of the Democrats of my own youth---specifically Jim Sasser with a bit of both Gores thrown in for good measure. I think that in a time when voters have grown weary of career politicians, a fresh-faced political newcomer could be just what the party needs to fire up the base. To be clear, my initial excitement over Adams has waned a slight bit both due to issues we don't completely agree on and his repeated reticence when asked his position on cannabis reform. Personally, I believe if he were to play it right, a proper stance on that issue---one that included the role of states' rights with a healthy dose of economic development potential---could attract the attention of independent voters and give him a solid chance. Nonetheless, my reservations about Gordon Ball greatly outweigh any second thoughts I might have entertained regarding Adams.

        Primarily, I have difficulty with the fact that Ball is bankrolling his own campaign and, really, does Washington need one more Senator buying his way to Capitol Hill? Though he now suddenly calls it a mistake, the fact remains that he has supported Lamar Alexander in the past and still supports many of the same disastrous economic policies that Alexander does. I can't help but feel that, as a self-financed multimillionaire with allegiance to no one but himself, Ball will enter those Senate chambers with the intention of legislating for his own personal gain and, as a self-described Blue Dog Dem, when it comes down to the votes he will tend toward siding with the GOP on economic policy and perhaps more. From what I'm seeing, Adams' greatest threat in the primaries isn't going to be Ball, it's the chatter among his own supporters about ballot-hopping to vote against Alexander in the primary which leaves the door open for Ball to, effectively, win the party's nomination by default. FWIW, just remember that Joe Carr's biggest fear is Democrats jumping ship to support Alexander in the primaries. That's why he attempted to restrict crossover voting during the last legislative session. Take that as you will.

        I'll close by saying that, if you knew just how many Tennessee voters are saying things to the effect of "I've never voted Democrat in my life but I will to clean house of this lot" you may feel a bit more confident about voting for your party. My biggest concern for Tennessee Dems continues to be that their attitude of presumed defeat will negate the effect of Independents and yes, even Conservatives, who are leaning blue this election season and tipping the scales in favor of Democratic candidates.

  •  Well, Siler has no chance (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bhouston79

    of becoming Senator but Campfield could really be ousted for the good of all.  Seems like an easy choice to me.

    •  But other than not making controversial comments (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dopper0189, bythesea

      proposing ridiculous legislation that has little to no chance of passing, how would Briggs be any better on the issues than Campfield?  Keep in mind that none of Campfield's controverial legislative proposals that have landed him on the Daily Show have passed the legislature.  If you can explain how Dr. Briggs will better than Campfield on one important issue, then I will consider crossing over and voting for him.

      We have nothing to fear but fear itself

      by bhouston79 on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 08:42:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is your choice how you choose to vote (0+ / 0-)

        but if I were in your position there is no question what I would do.  I would vote against Campfield in the primary because I personally have long despised the smarmy fratboy bigot and then vote for the Dem or Independent opponent in the general.  His GOP opponent probably would be better based on the voters he has made appeals to in the primary, but there is no guarantee at all of that and I certainly wouldn't vote for the Republican candidate in the general even if he is likely to prevail.

  •  Let the Crazy, be crazy and stay out of it. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ZenTrainer, marykk

    I say, give the loon all the rope he needs to hang himself.  Also consider the fundraising opportunities that the crazy gives Democrats.  

    Years ago I asked why no serious person had challenged Jesse Helms.  The answer was that every time he opened his yap, contributions to the Democratic party rolled in.

    This guy is not only comedy gold, but I'm sure that some smart Democratic Operative will use his comments to bring in a ton on money for Democratic Candidates.

    Sometimes a bad example, is better than none.

  •  I live in TN and have thought of doing stuff like (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk

    that before. I resist though. I think there could be some karmic backlash.

    Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature. I scroll with my middle finger.

    by ZenTrainer on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 10:30:53 PM PDT

  •  In your poll, I went with choice #3. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    marykk

    vote for Campfield to give the Dem a better shot.  I did this because this is how we're rolling in this year's election:  when we want the teabagger to win, he wins (Cantor's opponent in VA), when we want the teabagger to lose, he loses (Cochran's opponent in MS).  We're not just crossing over out of spite or frustration, we're actually having an impact in these repub primaries.  Two years from now?  Maybe it won't be the same situation at all.  But this year, it's working.
    I've lived in the same all-red district in Texas for the last 20 years now, and I've voted in repub primaries about a half-dozen times.  One year I voted in the repub primary runoff in order to keep Dickless Army's son, Dickless, Jr, from inheriting his congressional seat.  And it worked!  And the guy who won was actually a fairly moderate repub.
    I'd say that whichever primary you vote in, you're doing the right thing.  But don't be afraid to vote repub.  You'd be in very good company (well, not really, but still).

    "Soylent Green is people too, my friend!" Guess Who

    by oldmaestro on Tue Jul 15, 2014 at 10:32:22 PM PDT

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