State Sen. Stacey Campfield has suggested via email that at least three people who criticized his legislative proposals consider therapy and medication, reports Chas Sisk, and there is a national uproar in the blogosphere as a result. “You seem to have some serious, deep anger issues,” read the identically-worded messages. “Have you ever thought about therapy? I hear they are doing some wonderful things with medications these days.”
Campfield signed the messages, “Yours in service.”
The response, which may have been sent to many more people who wrote the senator, unleashed a torrent of criticism online Friday.
Several national websites, including TMZ and Hollywood Gossip, published the reply. (Note: TMZ has audio of an interview with Campfield on the matter, HERE) A thread on Reddit, a popular social media site, had drawn more than 60 comments by Friday afternoon.
“I was utterly shocked,” said Telisha Arguelles Cobb, the Berry Hill woman whose letter appeared on Reddit.
Cobb, who used to live in the Knoxville area Campfield now represents, wrote the lawmaker to express her displeasure with his Classroom Protection Act, which would discourage classroom discussions of homosexuality, and his proposal to tie welfare benefits to children’s performance in school.
In her note, which also was published on Reddit, Cobb said Campfield was “an embarrassment to our great state” and added, “You need to search your heart, your values and your Christianity to find a better way to represent us as a whole.”
Campfield wrote back to Cobb and at least two others shortly before 12:45 p.m. Thursday using his legislative iPad. He said he did not know how many people he sent the same reply to, and he declined to discuss how identical wording came to appear in multiple messages.
But he said gay rights activists were trying to intimidate him by sending him rude emails and publicizing his reply.
“I’m not their little piñata,” Campfield told The Tennessean on Friday. “I’m not going to put up with personal attacks.
A Rhea County Circuit Court jury on Tuesday evening found former state Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, not guilty of assaulting a woman in a wheelchair who supported Cobb’s opponent in the Aug. 2 primary election, reports the Chattanooga TFP. “The verdict speaks for itself,” said Cobb, who previously dismissed the misdemeanor assault charge as “politically motivated.”
The decision came at 6:40 p.m. after about an hour’s deliberation at the historic Rhea County Courthouse in downtown Dayton, Tenn. Cobb turned himself in to the county jail on Oct. 3 after a grand jury indicted him.
According to a Rhea County Sheriff’s Office report, Goins was sitting in her wheelchair at Frazier Elementary School in Dayton, campaigning for Cobb’s opponent, Ron Travis, when Cobb got out of his pickup truck and attempted to knock down a Travis sign.
Goins feared “imminent bodily injury,” the report stated, and thought Cobb was going to hit her after he raised his hand. Cobb, meanwhile, said there was no contact and not even harsh words directed toward Goins.
State Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, called his arrest Tuesday on an assault charge “politically motivated” and predicted it would be “washed away” in court, according to the Times-Free Press. Cobb was arrested in connection with an incident that happened on election day in August.
…”That’s the whole personality of this race that we just ran,” Cobb said. “Lies and mistruths? It was filled with that.”
Cobb is scheduled to appear for a hearing Friday in Rhea County Circuit Court. The crime is a class A misdemeanor.
Mike Taylor, 12th Judicial District attorney general, said he could not discuss details in the investigation, but said the charge was related to an incident at Frazier Elementary School where a voting poll was set up on election day.
The alleged victim and a sheriff’s deputy testified Monday before the grand jury, he said.
The indictment issued Monday by the grand jury states that Cobb assaulted Wanda Sue Goins, causing her to “fear imminent bodily injury” in the incident.
Messages left on Goins’ phone Tuesday were not returned. According to a Rhea County Sheriff’s Department report, Goins was sitting in her wheelchair at Frazier Elementary, campaigning for Cobb’s opponent, Ron Travis, on Aug. 2 when Cobb pulled up in his pickup truck, got out and “attempted to knock down Ron Travis’ sign.”
Cobb reportedly walked back toward his truck, turned around and “started fussing at her, pointing his finger at her about supporting Ron Travis,” the report states.
Cobb then “raised his hand up toward her and it scared her because she thought Jim was going to hit her,” the report states.
Cobb denied allegations there was an assault.
“There was no contact,” he said. “There were never even any harsh words [to] come out of my mouth to that lady.”
Goins also told the deputy Cobb had harassed her on the phone about her political loyalties, the report states.
n Tuesday, Cobb said he was the last to know about the coming criminal charge, and his political opponents celebrated his arrest.
“It was like a bunch of buzzards out there,” Cobb said of activities around the jail while he was being booked. “All the people who were against me were out there driving their vehicles around in circles just laughing and having a big time. But, you know, what goes around comes around.”
State Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, was arrested today on an original Rhea County, Tenn., grand jury indictment charging him with assault in connection with an election-day incident on Aug. 2, reports the Chattanooga Times-Free Press. According to 12th Judicial District Attorney General Mike Taylor, Cobb was charged with assault on an indictment issued Monday. Cobb was booked and was being processed for release on a $3,000 bond, Rhea County Jail officials said…
Taylor said he could not talk about facts in the investigation, but he said the charge was related to an incident at Frazier Elementary School where a voting poll was set up on Aug. 2.
The alleged victim of the assault and a Rhea County sheriff’s deputy testified before the grand jury on Monday, Taylor said. The crime is a class A misdemeanor.
Cobb is scheduled to appear for a Friday hearing in Circuit Court.
— Note: Previous post HERE.
Cobb becomes the third House member to be indicted this year. The others are Rep. David Hawk, R-Greeneville, charged with domestic assault on his wife; and Rep. Curry Todd, R-Collierville, who faces DUI and gun charges.
All three were House committee chairmen at the time of their indictments. Todd resigned as chair of the State and Local Government Committee while Hawk stepped down as chair of the Conservation and Environment Committee. Cobb is chair of the House Government Operations Committee.
Unemployment exceeds 10 percent in all six of the rural Middle Tennessee counties that now make up the 28th state Senate District, observes the Tennessean. So it comes as no surprise that in the race to occupy the newly drawn state Senate seat, state Rep. Joey Hensley, R-Hohenwald, and former state Rep. Ty Cobb, D-Columbia, are squabbling over their job records as they traverse the rural district south of Nashville.
Cobb took partial credit for creating the Northfield Workforce, Development and Conference Center, a job re-training facility that was funded when he served Maury County for two years in the state Capitol.
Hensley, a 57-year-old Lewis County doctor, disputed Cobb’s role and said he’d done more to bring jobs to his three-county district, including 100 jobs in Lawrence County in the past year.
And despite calls by Cobb and Hensley for a clean campaign, both sides were willing to question how effectively their opponent could bring work to the region, which acquired the 28th after Republicans moved it east from Memphis earlier this year.
An investigation is under way into a complaint against Tennessee House District 31 Rep. Jim Cobb, who is accused of getting into a disagreement with a woman at a polling place on election night, according to the Chattanooga TFP. The woman who filed the complaint said she confronted Cobb Thursday after he knocked down a campaign sign for Ron Travis, Cobb’s opponent in the GOP primary.
Mike Taylor, district attorney in the 12th Judicial District where Rhea County is located, confirmed the incident is under investigation as a possible assault. He said he is unsure whether an assault occurred or how the sign for Travis, who defeated Cobb, was knocked over.
“My understanding was that the person who made the complaint was out at one of the polling places, holding a sign for Travis,” Taylor said. “There was some kind of action that occurred, and the sign got kicked over.”
Jeff Knight, spokesman for the Rhea County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that a complaint has been filed against Cobb, but declined to confirm any details because of the ongoing investigation.
…Cobb said Tuesday that the complaint is “fabricated.”
“I take no offense to what she said, but it’s not true,” he said.
He said he and the woman spoke on election night after he brushed up against a Travis campaign sign, but “not enough to knock it down, just barely enough to make it wiggle,” and the woman approached him.
According to final unofficial returns on the Division of Election website, it appears Rep. Jim Cobb of Spring City has become the seventh incumbent Republican to lose in Thursday’s primaries.
His challenger, Ron Travis, an insurance agent, is shown with 4,357 votes while Cobb had 4,252.
The race had considerable controversy — including Rhea County’s election administrator declaring an organized Democratic crossover vote was aimed at helping Travis win.
The latest development in the bitterly contested state House District 31 GOP primary is that incumbent Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, and Republican challenger Ron Travis, of Dayton, really do agree on some things, reports Action Andy Sher. Both men have reservations about school vouchers, and both say they back anti-abortion legislation.
Beyond that, though, all bets are off in a contest that has attracted statewide attention. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is probing challenges by election officials of Democrats and other voters who are trying to vote in the Republican primary, which can be done if certain criteria are met.
The Rhea County Herald-News recently reported that, since 1996, Cobb has voted in one Democratic primary while Travis has voted in two.
The winner of Thursday’s GOP primary will be the next representative because no Democrat is running.
Cobb has accused Travis of being more of a Democrat than a Republican, saying he voted at least twice in Democratic primaries. He charged that Travis and his supporters hatched a plot “to get as many Democrats as possible to vote in the Republican primary.”
Citing his six years of experience in the Legislature, Cobb said electing Travis would be a “waste of time for a guy I believe really is not a conservative.”
Cobb has said repeatedly he has not been part of the GOP voting challenges.
Travis, 57, said he’s been a Republican since he was 18, although acknowledging he never has voted for Cobb, 61, who’s now seeking a fourth term.
“I’ve never put much faith in Jim Cobb,” said Travis, who calls himself a conservative. “I don’t like him representing me. I don’t think he does anything for us other than naming some roads for people and a dog-restraint bill. He couldn’t even get a second on it.”
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation confirmed Wednesday that it has launched a probe into whether Rhea County election officials illegally blocked voters believed to be Democrats from voting in the Republican primary election.
Theresa Snyder, the county election administrator, said she and other officials did nothing wrong and were following state law. They took an active stance to block known Democrats from voting in the GOP primary because of an orchestrated campaign for crossover voting in the House District 31 primary, she said.
Snyder said some Democrats are openly supporting Ron Travis, who is challenging state Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, for the seat. The county Democratic chairman, Doris Roy, said there is no orchestrated campaign and that she has heard from Democrats who intend to vote for Cobb as well as some saying they prefer Travis.
“I am staying out of it,” Roy said. “I just tell everybody to vote their conscience.”
There is no Democrat seeking the office, so the election will effectively be decided in the Aug. 2 primary. Early voting in the primary began July 13 and continues through Saturday.
Ten voters with a history of voting in Democratic primaries have been challenged, Snyder said, including Maxine Vincent, wife of Dayton Mayor Bob Vincent. Nine, including Vincent, were declared ineligible to vote by a three-member Republican panel, she said. In the remaining case, the judges decided the woman in question was eligible.
The question of who’s a Republican and who’s not has become a major issue in the Tennessee House District 31 GOP primary, reports Action Andy. Rep. Jim Cobb, R-Spring City, faces opponent Ron Travis, of Dayton, in the race and, last week, Rhea County Republican election officials challenged as many as 30 would-be GOP primary voters on grounds they were Democrats and not “bona fide” Republicans.
Now Cobb is charging that Travis himself is little more than a Democrat in disguise.
Travis, an insurance agency owner, said he has considered himself a Republican since he began voting.
“Let me tell you, I am a Republican. I have been a Republican since I was 18 years old. I choose the Republican Party. I have voted in Democratic primaries in the past. I have voted for the person.”
He acknowledged he has “voted for the person” and said he has never voted for Cobb because he doesn’t think the state representative has done a good job.
…Cobb said he’s “staying completely away” from the challenges.
“I have told people I’m certainly not going to participate in enforcing a challenge,” he said. “As many Democrats would vote for me as for [Travis].”
Stopping short of accusing Cobb of being behind the move, Travis said he understands 25 to 30 people have been challenged in the GOP primary. But, he said, he is told that Republican election officials are letting “some people of the Democrat persuasion through. … I don’t know how they’re determining it.”
That raises questions, he said. No Democrat is running and the GOP candidate will become the next representative. Given that, there is natural interest among Democrats to cross over, Travis said.
“I’ve had people say this is the worst feeling in the world where they say they can’t vote,” Travis said.
“I’ve never put much faith in Jim Cobb,” he said. “I don’t like him representing me. I just don’t think he does anything for us.”
Cobb, a TVA retiree seeking a fourth term, said Travis has voted in Democratic primaries at least twice in the past four election cycles.
“His voting record and his entire past reflects a Democrat leaning,” Cobb said, adding that the district leans Republican, making it “very hard” for a Democrat to run and win.
“So this idea of running on the Republican ticket was a plan started before the filing deadline,” Cobb continued. “The plan is to get as many Democrats as possible to vote in the Republican primary.”
Still, Cobb said he isn’t behind the challenges of some would-be GOP primary voters by Rhea County Administrator of Elections Theresa Snyder and other Republicans.
Tennessee primaries are open — the state has no registration by party — but crossover efforts can be challenged if the voter is not a “bona fide” party member. A voter also can take an oath declaring allegiance to a party when the person wishes to cast a ballot in a specific primary.