On ‘Knoxville’s Weirdest Politician’ and His Current Campaign

Rep. Stacey Campfield, “Knoxville’s weirdest politician,” is the subject of a profile by Jesse Fox Mayshark in the current Metro Pulse, including a fairly lengthy question-and-answer session. (First question, “Are you crazy?” There’s also a shorter sidebar story on his current state Senate campaign against Democrat Randy Walker.
Here’s a tone-setting excerpt from the Campfield profile portion:
In person, Campfield is engaging and even-keeled, if understandably wary of an interview with Metro Pulse. This is the paper, after all, that asked its readers in this year’s Best of Knoxville poll to propose the best way to get Campfield to leave the state. He has a sense of humor about himself–when told that this article would be called “What the hell is wrong with Stacey Campfield,” he laughed and said he hoped it would be a cover story. He can be defensive when challenged, but no more so than your average politician. He claims to not understand why he is so often singled out as kooky or odd, patiently explaining his positions and attributing disagreements to the normal push and pull of democratic governance.
And yet, it is hard to escape the contradictions underlying his geniality. He is a family-values conservative who has never married, a fathers’ rights advocate with no children, a professed preservationist who has been cited by the city for property neglect and sued by his tenants (though he is quick to point out that he has also won a suit of his own against a tenant), an advocate for education who litters his blog with spelling and grammatical errors, and a legislator who rarely manages to get his own legislation out of committee. He proposes bills more likely to generate headlines than laws. He is, to put it plainly, kind of weird.

The article on the Senate race includes some information on his opponent, namely:
That novice Democratic candidate is Randy Walker, who is presenting himself as a moderate, technocratic problem-solver. Unlike Campfield, he is “from here”–he was born and raised in Oak Ridge, where he still works. He is a transportation and logistics guy both by education (he has a business degree from the University of Tennessee) and by profession, currently on behalf of the Oak Ridge National Lab. His work over the years has included negotiating the trans-state shipment of radioactive materials, and, after 9/11, supervising the installation of radiation-detection equipment at trucking weigh stations. His wife, Cindy, was active for years in the PTAs at the West Knox schools their two children attended, at one point serving on the state PTA board. And Walker, who is 51, describes himself as “pretty conservative” and “pretty bipartisan,” adding, “My mother was a Republican.”

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