By Les Neuhaus
KNOXVILLE Tenn. (Reuters) - An outgoing Tennessee lawmaker representing a Knoxville district admitted on Friday to sending a ridiculing message on social media to a newly laid-off political reporter.
State Senator Stacey Campfield, a Republican, confirmed that he sent a public Facebook message on Thursday that said, “so, Do YOU have any comments now?” to Cari Wade Gervin, a former government reporter for Knoxville’s Metro Pulse.
Gervin, along with the entire staff of the 23-year-old alternative weekly newspaper, was laid off this week by the Knoxville News Sentinel, owned by E.W. Scripps Co.
Campfield and Gervin had a rivalry dating back years, with Gervin’s paper often reporting on Campfield, who once equated Obamacare to the Nazis and for sponsoring anti-gay legislation.
“It’s just sad because he’s attacking me at this awful time. He’s just doing it because he wants attention before he leaves office,” said a tearful Gervin, 37, who has worked at the paper for four years.
Campfield, who recently lost a contentious primary race for his seat in Knoxville, served as a lightning rod for controversy during his roughly 10 years of public service as both a representative and a senator in the Tennessee legislature.
Campfield said on Friday that Gervin had lied about him in the past.
“Do I care about someone who lost their job lying about me? No,” he told Reuters.
(Reporting by Les Neuhaus in Knoxville; Editing by Brendan O'Brien and Eric Beech)