CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) - Former congressional hopeful Scottie Mayfield says he was surprised when current candidate Weston Wamp showed up at his home to try to persuade him not to endorse incumbent Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
And Mayfield says he was shocked when Wamp sent him a text message later to say he had secretly recorded the conversation.
Mayfield, who came in second in the 2012 GOP primary, said the visit came the weekend before he made his public endorsement of Fleischmann in the 3rd District race.
Mayfield said Wamp, who finished third in the previous race, questioned why he was getting involved in the race after previously saying he would remain neutral.
Fleischmann campaign consultant Chip Saltsman called Wamp's actions "unbelievable."
Weston Wamp released the following statement about the incident:
"I had a private, respectful conversation with Scottie Mayfield. As I told Scottie, I turned on my iPhone recorder for my own protection as anyone would who is running against a dishonest Congressman who has already been sued for defamation of character. I was concerned and still am concerned that Mr. Mayfield may have been a victim of the lies, threats and misinformation that has been spread from Congressman Fleischmann, and his cronies, since I entered the race in January."
"Scottie Mayfield says he thought the conversation was private and it was, until he made it public today. I intended to keep it private; you will have to ask him why he chose to make it public".
"This latest episode is typical of Congressman Fleischmann's desperate tactics. The latest of which include the Congressman intimidating, harassing and threatening donors to my campaign for not supporting him. We have received reports that Congressman Fleischmann has threatened to "blacklist" donors and not help them in his official capacity unless they support him in his reelection campaign. This, of course, is against federal law."
"It's unfortunate that while I am in Scott County trying to work with people to make their lives better, Congressman Fleischmann is focused on nasty politics again. This is what people all over the district tell me they are sick and tired off from politicians."