Republican gubernatorial candidate Mark Albertini spent Thursday night in jail in Knoxville after a run-in with a Knoxville Police officer.
Albertini, 45, pleaded no contest to a charge of public intoxication on Friday morning and was released.
The GOP hopeful said he had a full glass of red wine at lunch on Thursday, but he said he did not feel he was intoxicated.
"I was not wobbly on my feet. They did not give me any kind of field test or breath test," he said.
Albertini is running on the GOP ticket and had gotten some surprising poll numbers in the contest with Sen. Jim Bryson.
The candidate said he went to a Republican rally at Elizabeth Lane Farm in Knoxville, but was not allowed to speak. He said he was told that Bryson was one of the sponsors of the event.
He said two police officers approached him and asked him to leave. He said he asked them not to escort him out, saying he would leave on his own.
Albertini said he stopped at a nearby intersection and got out to distribute campaign literature. He said an officer came up and told him he was not to be soliciting in that area.
He said he had some words with the officer, challenging him on which section of the law prohibited the solicitation. He said, "Looking back, I should have been more respectful of the officer and not questioned him."
He said the officer took him aside and told him he smelled of an intoxicant. He said he then was placed in custody and taken to jail.
He said he appeared before a judicial commissioner on Friday morning, then was released after his no contest plea. The charges were dismissed.
He was booked into the jail at 1:07 a.m. and was released at 6:04 a.m.
Albertini said, "I have put my heart and soul in this election and I have been shut out of the process."
He said he is Italian and grew up drinking wine. But he said in the future, "I'll just drink wine before going to bed."
A police report said the candidate "appeared to be unsteady on his feet" at the intersection about two miles from the rally site.
The report said a bottle of wine and a pistol were found in his car.
Officials said no alcohol was served at the GOP rally.