By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com August 08 2014 8:02 PM ET
Tennessee state senator Stacey Campfield, author of the infamous “don’t say gay” bill that would have prohibited any mention of homosexuality in the state’s public schools through eighth grade, is now one for the history books.
Campfield, a Republican who proved an embarrassment to his party, lost his primary election Thursday to Richard Briggs, a Knox County commissioner and cardiac surgeon who served as an Army doctor in the first Iraq war. Briggs took 67 percent of the vote to Campfield’s 28 percent, reports the Knoxville News-Sentinel.
Briggs is a staunch conservative — his campaign website touts him as pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, and anti-Obamacare — but he “has said it would be his intention to be more low-key” than Campfield, the News-Sentinel notes. Briggs will face Democrat Cheri Siler in the November general election.
Campfield, a state legislator since 2004, gained national notoriety with the “don’t say gay” bill, which he introduced twice. It failed to become law either time; the second version would have required school personnel to out LGBT students to their parents. He also has been ridiculed over a 2012 interview with gay radio host Michelangelo Signorile in which he claimed HIV originated through a man having sex with a monkey and asserted that the virus could not be transmitted via heterosexual intercourse. Campfield has been lampooned on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.
Recently, Campfield got into trouble by writing on his blog, “Democrats bragging about the number of mandatory sign-ups for Obamacare is like Germans bragging about the number of mandatory sign-ups for ‘train rides’ for Jews in the 40s.” Fellow Republicans, including Tennessee governor Bill Haslam, joined Democrats in denouncing the Holocaust comparison.
Campfield reacted to his loss in idiosyncratic fashion. On his blog, he commented, “That was fun,” and posted a YouTube video of Frank Sinatra singing “My Way.”