While the Nashville area has had its share of weird politicians in recent years – U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais comes to mind first – Knoxville-area State Senator Stacey Campfield may be the state’s strangest elected official in decades. His embarrassing antics and bizarre publicity stunts have brought lots of national embarrassment to Tennessee. Campfield has been ridiculed on The Colbert Report and The Daily Show, two popular Comedy Central shows, and elsewhere.
As a member of the Tennessee Senate from the 7th district, Campfield represents Knoxville, Farragut, and other parts of Knox County.
Campfield was first elected in 2004 to the Tennessee House of Representatives. In 2010, he moved to the State Senate after defeating moderate Randy Walker by a margin of 53-37%.
In 2005, Campfield sought membership in the legislative Black Caucus while describing the group as racist and saying membership was more restrictive than the Ku Klux Klan. Why would he want to join an organization he considers racist?
While attending the Republican National Convention in August, 2012, Campfield criticized the convention postponement due to Hurricane Isaac. In his personal blog, Senator Campfield called Hurricane Isaac (he misspelled it Isac) just a little wind and rain. The hurricane caused over $2 billion dollars in damages and more than 4 million people lost electricity.
Campfield On How AIDS Started
AIDS was transmitted to humans because “one guy” had sex with “a monkey” and then started “having sex with men.”
Campfield is well known for numerous controversial remarks about homosexuality. He has compared homosexuality to bestiality. In a January 2012 interview. Campfield also claimed that AIDS came about from a “homosexual screwing a monkey”. He also claimed that it was virtually impossible to contract AIDS through heterosexual sex. He later quoted the odds of heterosexual vaginal transmission at 1 in 5 million. Campfield’s views are contrary to every known fact in the medical community.
Campfield On Spontaneous Abortion
After Congressman Todd Akin made the claim that woman victims of what he described as “legitimate rape” rarely experience pregnancy from rape, Campfield defended him. He posted on his personal blog, “Akin Wrong? Not so fast.” He linked to an article supporting the idea that stress can cause spontaneous abortions, a concept without any scientific basis.
Legislation over the years that Senator Campfield sponsored includes:
A bill to issue death certificates for aborted fetuses (2007);
Legislation to provide employees of public colleges’ state-issued handgun-carry permits to carry their handguns on campus. No background check would have been required. (2008);
A bill to ban teachers from teaching about homosexuality in Tennessee’s public elementary and middle schools (2008, 2011);
Legislation to limit lottery winnings to $600 for people on public assistance (2009);
A bill that would reduce welfare benefits by 30% when children showed poor academic performance. Critics refer to the legislation as “let them starve.” (2013)
Stacey Campfield Don’t Say Gay
Recently, Campfield sponsored SB049, also known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. It prohibits classroom instruction, course materials or other informational resources that are inconsistent with natural human reproduction. One provision has been widely criticized as potentially creating situations that would discourage troubled students from seeking counseling when dealing with sexual abuse, bullying or even contemplation of suicide.
Campfield supports a requirement that would force educators to tell parents if they learn a child is gay. His bill would require teachers to tell gay students they need a psychiatrist, and literally hand them a referral.
On a radio show, Campfield said LGBT teen suicide is “the biggest lark out there.”
Sen. Stacey Campfield has sponsored legislation making it harder for Tennessee college students to vote. He has promoted a ban on college ID and library cards being used as photo ID when voting in Tennessee. The state Court of Appeals allowed library cards to be used in last year’s elections.
In a Senate State and Local Government Committee hearing, Sen. Campfield accused Sen. Joe Haynes’ wife, Judge Barbara Haynes, of voting illegally.
In a 2008 legislative race, Representative Campfield made charges against an ally’s opponent that were blatantly false. In the election, Republican Chad Faulkner was vying for a seat in the Tennessee House against Democrat Roger Byrge. Campfield publicly charged and was involved in mailings that said Byrge had multiple drug arrests. Campfield also charged that Byrge had been arrested for drug dealing. Neither accusation was true. Byrge lost the race by fewer than 400 votes.
Campfield on Freedom of Speech
In a deposition about his blog writings connected to false statements he made in the 2008 election, Campfield was challenged on whether there are limits to what he could publish. “You can do anything,” Campfield responded. “That’s freedom of speech. Campfield also stated that if the Court found him guilty of libel, it would be unlikely he’d pay any damages. “Like I’ve got any money to give it even if you win,” Campfield said in the deposition taken in April 2011.
In Stacey Campfield’s public blog, he posts a warning that any quotation from it for print will be charged at “$1,000 USD per word”. Unlike the Knox County Senator, we invite visitors to share and reprint our editorial writings. Unlike Campfield, we believe in the free speech rights provided in our Constitution.
The embarrassment Campfield brings to Tennessee is only lessened by the fact he did not live in Tennessee until age 25. He’s a native New Yorker.
Anti-Gay TN Senator: LGBT Suicide Isn’t a Real Problem
Note: Campfield, who has never married, has denied that he is gay saying he has a girlfriend who lives in New York.