by Steven Hale
Stacey Campfield's ability to remain in elected office is something of a political marvel.
And yet, here he is, halfway through his first term as a senator, having already served thrice in the state House. The only race he's ever lost was his first. Even if one concedes — and I don't — that the numerous controversies cluttering Campfield's Wikipedia page are merely the result of an antagonistic press, his apparent ability to overcome them is notable.
I have several working theories on this, which I won't bore you with now. In any event, Campfield's wizard-like ability to stir up trouble with seeming electoral immunity is apparently going to be tested again: It seems two possible challengers for his seat have emerged, one Republican and one Democrat.
The latest is Knox County Commissioner Richard Briggs, a cardiothoracic surgeon and retired Army colonel who has served in active and reserve units.
Briggs, a Republican, acknowledges an interest and says he will wait until after the Nov. 6 elections before making a decision.
"We are starting to put together a basic support structure if we decide to go forward. We are meeting with groups we would consider supportive and listening to their concerns. No final decision will be made until after the November elections and probably the first of the year but we are establishing the infrastructure in the event we do decide to go in that direction," he said in an email.
The Democrat, Vines reports, is Brian Stevens, who has already begun campaigning. One assumes he'll face an uphill battle, as the best way to beat a Republican in this state is to be a Republican.
Meanwhile, Campfield was blogging. On Sunday, he responded to calls from Democrats for legislators to undergo diversity training, by asserting that it's actually the Black Caucus — which Campfield famously attempted to join — who should take such classes. On Monday, ahead of this week's Democratic National Convention, he posted a thorough mock convention schedule, featuring events such as "Opening Flag Burning Ceremony — sponsored by CNN" and "Ceremonial 'I hate America' led by Michelle Obama."
As far as we can tell, Briggs isn't a blogger. But Stevens' fledgling campaign does have a Facebook page.