Stacey Jumps Off the Gingrich Train

Three days before Tuesday's election, state Rep. Stacey Campfield threw his presidential candidate under the bus. Despite being the state co-chair of the Newt Gingrich campaign, Campfield endorsed Rick Santorum.

Campfield said it was important to elect a conservative and although he really, really likes Newt he felt it was his duty to support Santorum because he was the conservative who could win.

Some Campfield critics say there was more to it. When Gingrich came to Nashville last week, it was state Rep. Tony Shipley, his other co-chair, who made introductions and remarks. Campfield was snubbed by Gingrich and kept at arm's length. A lobbyist suggested that some of Campfield's colleagues told Gingrich that Campfield was "radioactive" due to his recent comments about gays, AIDS, and monkey sex.

Campfield posted his Santorum endorsement on his blog Saturday. Ironically, WATE's Tennessee This Week taped Friday had Joe Bailey for Mitt Romney, state Rep. Bill Dunn for Santorum, and Campfield was to represent Gingrich. But Campfield, rather than speak for Gingrich, joined Dunn in supporting Santorum. The program aired Sunday.

Campfield's views about the origin of AIDS and his assertion that it was rare for a heterosexual woman to get the disease raised a furor nationwide and led to his being ejected from the Bistro restaurant on Gay Street. Campfield is also the sponsor of a bill that would forbid teachers in elementary school from discussing gay orientation.