It's slash-and-burn politics in Tennessee's 3rd congressional district. Well, minus the "burn" part (so far).
Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) is facing off against dairy executive Scottie Mayfield in the GOP primary. Mayfield is now apologizing to his opponent after his 33-year-old son slashed the tire of one of Fleischmann's aides at a campaign event.
"I am truly sorry and embarrassed," wrote Mayfield. "This kind of activity has no place in campaigns and we are regretful that it happened."
The incident occurred on Tuesday at a Mayfield campaign event. Fleischmann's campaign manager Tyler Threadgill and spokesman Jordan Powell attended it to monitor their competitor's remarks. While they were there, a tire on Threadgill's Audi was slashed.
Mayfield's campaign initially denied a connection to the incident, but his son Michael Mayfield later confessed and the local police department charged him with a misdemeanor.
More from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, which reported on video footage of the incident:
The relevant footage shows a man stepping off Mayfield's bus and walking up to Threadgill's 2005 Audi before he starts "fooling with the wheel," according to a Kingston, Tenn., Police Department report. The man "cut the tire stem," causing a flat tire for Threadgill "down the road," the report said.
Kingston Assistant Police Chief Gary Nelson on Thursday said that, during the bus-tour visit, Michael Mayfield had to return a pocket knife to the bus after setting off the courthouse's metal detector.
Mayfield campaign spokesman Joe Hendrix said the younger Mayfield admitted responsibility to his father, gave a statement to Kingston law enforcement and was released early Thursday morning.
Mayfield's campaign recently released an internal poll showing him leading in the race. The Fleischmann campaign has disputed the data.