A frequent campaign tactic these days is to have someone follow your opponent from event to event, hoping to capture a YouTube moment that can be devastating.
Congressional candidate Scottie Mayfield got a YouTube clip recently when he spoke to a group of University of Tennessee students. It is believed to have been filmed by someone friendly to one of his opponents, Weston Wamp. In rambling answers to questions, he couldn't list any of his top priorities if elected, saying it would depend on what committee he is assigned. The clip made the rounds and Mayfield was lampooned by supporters of incumbent Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.
Two Fleischmann staffers were following the Mayfield campaign at stops last week. There may have been some suspicion that the tag-a-longs were doing it to collect some "gotcha" video. Mayfield's son has confessed to cutting the valve stem on a tire, leaving the Fleischmann team stranded at the Roane County courthouse while the Mayfield campaign went on to Morgan County. Michael Mayfield, 33, hadn't counted on a security camera at the courthouse.
The 3rd District congressional race is expected to be a doozy, with lots of money involved. Mayfield had a huge fund-raiser and has personal wealth; Fleischmann has had fund-raisers hosted by House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Wamp has been able to have some impressive fund-raisers given his father Zach's long tenure in the seat.
Adding to campaign highlights is that Fleischmann has Chip Saltsman on his team. Saltsman is a former chair of the Tennessee Republican Party and was national campaign manager for Mike Huckabee's presidential run in 2008. Mayfield has Tommy Hopper. Hopper is also a former chair of the state Republican Party and presided over the Republican sweep in Tennessee in 1994. Hopper has a reputation as a no-holds-barred campaigner and is also a nationally known campaign operative.