Campfield Challenger Gets Early Attention

Brian Stevens, who has already launched a campaign for the Democratic nomination to oppose Republican state Sen. Stacey Campfield in 2014, is the subject of a lengthy political profile piece in this week’s Metro Pulse.
The tall and strapping Stevens embarked on this venture earlier in the year and took advantage of the campaign season to get his message out early to likely voters. He’ll need those two years, he says, if he wants to win the state Senate District 7 seat.
“If no one’s ever heard of me, they’re going to reject me,” he says. “We have to fill in that blank. And then I come in and create the rest. It’s hard. Beating Stacey Campfield is not going to be an easy job.”
Stevens, 30, is a statistics professor at the University of Tennessee. This semester, he’s also picked up a math class he’s never taught before–and he’s learning the material right along with his students. He says he reads the textbook himself and works out the example problems before teaching a lesson. If a student asks him a question he can’t answer, he tells him or her he’ll look it up himself. On top of his bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s in business analytics, he’s worked a slew of unrelated jobs, including working on an archaeological dig in Texas. In college, he was a member of the student government.
“I’ve had positions of authority and leadership,” he says. “My experience is there for my age.”
Stevens will run on the Democratic ticket, but mostly for the purposes of raising his odds against Campfield.
“I know a third-party candidate will only increase Stacey Campfield’s chances. And it’s not so much about party because it is about me as a person,” he says.
Stevens and his supporters don’t use the word “Democrat” to describe him very often; they prefer “social libertarian/fiscal moderate.” In fact, “Democrat” isn’t used on his official website or on his Facebook page.
…Though Stevens’ platform is fairly typical of Democratic ideals–it includes support for environmental protections, marriage equality, and more efficient education strategies–he says he would defer to Haslam’s business knowledge when it comes to creating jobs.
“He knows what will bring business here. And I think it’s great we have a businessman as a governor,” Stevens says.

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