Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Chip Forrester blasted Rep. Stacey Campfield (R-Knoxville) and Rep. Glen Casada (R-Franklin) for their campaign of dirty tricks in the 2008 election.

Campfield is the subject of a libel suit by Roger Byrge, a Democratic candidate for the House in 2008. Campfield wrote on his personal blog (http://lastcar.blogspot.com/) that Byrge had “multiple separate drug arrests. Including arrests for possession and drug dealing.”

Byrge, who’s never been convicted of a drug crime, lost the race by 391 votes.

“These smear tactics are why decent people are afraid to get into politics – for fear of having their good name tarnished with flat-out lies,” Forrester said.

Byrge struck back with a libel lawsuit against Campfield. Now, Campfield is backpedaling and accusing House Republican Caucus Chairman Glen Casada of starting the rumor. Casada, for his part, claims electoral amnesia.

“I’m just trying to rack my brain, and don’t recall who would have told me or where I would have gotten that,” Casada said. “I don’t recall. But if Stacey says I did, then obviously I did. I’m confirming that if he says it, I must have.”

“My thing is, we’re running 15, 18 races concurrently in October and November of 2008,” he said. “And there’s no telling.”

Maybe Glen Casada couldn’t keep track of all the lies he was spreading at the time. Casada’s aide, Scott Gilmer, created fake websites in Rep. Nathan Vaughn’s name. Vaughn lost his re-election race by 322 votes. In March, Gilmer pleaded no contest to the criminal charge of impersonating Vaughn, yet incredibly, remains on the payroll of the House Republican Caucus.

“We all know that ridiculous rumors are posted on the internet all the time,” Forrester said. “But Glen Casada broke the rules multiple times. When a staffer impersonates an opposing candidate, that’s a crime. And when a state legislator publishes lies about a candidate being a convicted felon, that’s libel.”

“Apparently, Glen Casada couldn’t win back the House running a clean campaign, so he took out two Democratic candidates by making things up on the Internet. That is middle-school politics, and the people of Tennessee deserve better.”

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