Tennessee Senate District 10 Republican candidate Todd Gardenhire said his opponent is engaging in a negative campaign, but he said he won't follow suit.
Mr. Gardenhire noted that he participated in a forum Thursday evening hosted by the Olivet Baptist Church on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard.
As the only Republican candidate in attendance invited to the “candidate forum aimed at black voters,” Mr. Gardenhire said he "stuck to the issues of education, personal safety, healthcare and job-creation despite continued efforts by Chattanooga City Councilman Andre McGary to earn headlines through baseless claims and an attempt to create a negative campaign of his own making."
Mr. Gardenhire said immediately following the event "regarding the trumped-up charges" during the forum:
"I couldn't understand him; he was talking way too fast. He's welcome to his opinion; he's welcome to run his campaign the way like he wants to, and that's fine. That's America. I'll run my campaign the say that I want to. I've been going door-to-door, I've been talking to people almost every afternoon, almost all day on Saturdays. I've been knocking on doors, talking to people and finding out what's on their minds. To me, that's where you find out who the voters really are."
“The obvious need for earned media is fueling the attempts by Todd’s opponent to make false statements,” said Nick Collins, Gardenhire campaign spokesman. “We appreciate the full quote being reported in some media outlets, and plan to continue to run a grassroots campaign, not one fought on the radio and in the headlines.”
He said mischaracterizations have been made that Mr. Gardenhire will not respond to the issues.
“My decision is to focus on issues and voters in the district. Engaging in mud-slinging and lies has destroyed good government and the trust in public service. I won’t engage,” said Mr. Gardernhire. “I challenge my opponent to stop his tactics. Voters deserve better; they deserve leadership.”