Third District U.S. House candidate Weston Wamp said Saturday that during a recent visit to the home of former candidate Scottie Mayfield that he and his wife had no praise for Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, but expressed anger at Mr. Wamp's sister, Coty Wamp.
The Mayfields apparently believe that it was Coty Wamp who secretly filmed a Mayfield appearance at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2012 and posted the unflattering YouTube video “Scottie Mayfield Struggles to Answer Basic Questions.”
Weston Wamp has declined to say if that charge is accurate.
Also in his statement, Mr. Wamp, son of former Third District Rep. Zach Wamp, accused the Fleischmann campaign of intimidating donors. He charged that the Fleischmann campaign has repeatedly violated federal law.
Mr. Mayfield has hit Mr. Wamp for secretly taplng his recent visit that came two days prior to his endorsement of Rep. Fleischmann. Mr. Wamp said Mr. Mayfield, whose family has long operated the Mayfield Dairy at Athens, Tn., had earlier promised him he would stay neutral.
Mr. Mayfield said at the endorsement that he decided to become the honorary Fleischmann campaign chairman after he was advised that the Wamp campaign was saying that he was backing Weston Wamp. Mr. Mayfield made an unsuccessful try for the Third District seat in 2012.
Weston Wamp said, "From the day I announced my candidacy for Congress more than two years ago, I have always told the truth and set a high standard of transparency as a candidate. While our current Congressman always speaks through political operatives, I communicate openly and honestly with the media and the people I want to represent. Just this week I spent five consecutive nights in the back of an RV, a process I will repeat many times this summer, in an effort to be fully accessible to the people of this district.
"So let me set the record straight about my visit with Scottie Mayfield a few weeks ago.
"The recent drama caused by the Fleischmann campaign started because, as Scottie Mayfield has admitted to the media, he was not honest with me regarding his commitment to stay neutral in this race. On two separate occasions he told me to my face that he would not make an endorsement.
"Two days prior to the announcement that he would endorse Chuck Fleischmann, I visited Scottie at his home only because he had not answered or returned my phone calls. I was raised to look a man in the eye and, after Scottie told me he would not get involved in this race, I wanted him to look me in the eye and tell me he was going back on his word. Knowing that I was dealing with a dishonest man who was about to endorse another dishonest man, our Congressman who has already been sued for defamation of character, I knew I should protect myself. If I had not protected myself, Scottie and the Fleischmann campaign could have said anything they wanted about my visit to Scottie’s home.
"As is customary in 21st century politics, I used an iPhone to keep a record of our conversation in which Scottie and his wife Lisa repeatedly criticized my younger sister and challenged my family’s character. He had not a single positive word to say about Chuck Fleischmann, but unfortunately expressed plenty of lingering hostility toward my 25-year old sister. Instead of keeping our conversation private, as I intended and still intend to do, Scottie Mayfield used it against me. Of course, the only reason he was able to use it against me is because I was forthright and told him I had kept a record of our conversation. If I had intended to use the conversation against Scottie, obviously I would have used it two weeks ago to undermine his endorsement of Chuck Fleischmann.
"In the coming days and weeks, more light will be shed on the unethical and illegal tactics being used by Congressman Chuck Fleischmann and his operatives to hold power. By intimidating donors to my campaign and threatening not to work in his official capacity on behalf of those who do not support him, we believe the Congressman has repeatedly violated federal law in a serious manner. Given the underhanded tactics being used against me, I think every voter in the Third District can understand why I would protect myself by recording any serious conversation I have with Congressman Chuck Fleischmann’s operatives.
"As the only member of our community to stand up to challenge our corrupt Congressman, I will use this despicable political ploy to further energize our positive campaign. It is no coincidence that these attacks came while I was on the road in Scott County and within days of our campaign’s upcoming announcement that we have raised as much money from individuals in the first quarter as any Congressional campaign in America. We’ve been able to build the support we have because we focus on issues that matter rather than political games, which have consumed our Congressman during his four years in office.
"Let’s move on and have a fair race about which candidate can work to fix Washington, fund the Chickamauga Lock and give our district honest representation."