With less than a week to go until Tennessee's Aug. 2 elections, Courtney Rogers and Debra Maggart, and their respective supporters, are bickering again — adding yet more weight to my theory that politics is just high school, with a whole lot of money and sporadic lawmaking.
Even without the National Rifle Association's considerable involvement, the House District 45 primary has been sufficiently feisty and delectably passive-agressive.
A personal favorite bit of the latter: "Let the record show that we have not made an issue of my opponent’s past failed business.” - from a Rogers release responding to chatter about a bankruptcy in her past.
So when the Rogers campaign issued a press release this morning demanding that Maggart apologize for "violating [Rogers'] privacy and subjecting her children to threatening and harassing phone calls" it was surprising in the same way it's surprising to see the Jackson's family drama playing out on the news. (Which is to say, it was not surprising.)
In the release, which you can read here in full, Rogers accuses Maggart of giving out her home phone number.
“Lying about my family in numerous radio and TV ads is bad enough," Rogers says in the release. "But sending out emails to hundreds of people asking them to call my unlisted home telephone number to complain about my supposed lying about her is over the line. We have already been forced to call the Goodlettsville police after a threatening call last night. I call on Rep. Maggart to identify one lie I have told about her. Our campaign has already identified numerous lies she has told about me and my family.”
The Tennessean reported this morning that Rogers told Goodlettsville police she received a voicemail in which a man warned that "the devil" was going to "get her" for running a dirty campaign.
This is the email in question. It does encourage supporters to call the Rogers campaign and "demand she stop using smear tactics against Debra Maggart."
I suppose I don't blame Rogers for being a bit irritated with talk of the devil on her voicemail. But what is apparently her home telephone number is neither private nor unlisted. It's the number Rogers gave to the state, which is listed on this state website as her contact number.
Rogers' campaign website doesn't give a different number. It also doesn't seem to feature one of those legally required "Paid for by..." disclosures. If it does have one, I haven't been able to find it, which would seem to defeat the purpose.
For their part, the Maggart camp was peeved today by the suggestion that they had broken a pesky bit of campaign law themselves and that, in the process, some legislative staffers' names had been dragged into the fray. In a Facebook post — screen shot here — Tennessee Firearms Association executive director and Rogers supporter, John Harris, pointed out that the phone number appearing on Maggart's campaign emails was in fact the number to her legislative office on the Hill (which is a no-no).
As for the situation with Rogers' not-so-private home / campaign phone number, Maggart and her campaign have also made a point to note that Maggart's personal cell phone number appears on her ads.