3RD DISTRICT GOP PRIMARY RESULTS
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann 29,943 39 percent
Scottie Mayfield 23,772 31 percent
Weston Wamp 21,992 29 percent
Ron Bhalla 923 1 percent
Source: The Associated Press
Scottie Mayfield gave up the fight Friday and conceded the 3rd Congressional District Republican primary to U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
"Tomorrow I'm going to get on my tractor for the first time in four months," the runner-up said Friday. "I'm ready to get back to the old normalcy as opposed to the more recent normalcy."
The dairy executive's concession clears the way for Fleischmann to run against Democratic nominee Mary Headrick. Independent candidate and Army veteran Matthew Deniston also will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.
Mayfield phoned the freshman congressman Friday afternoon. The call came half a day after Mayfield promised Thursday night to challenge Hamilton County's results "first thing" in the morning.
Several bleary-eyed Fleischmann staffers converged on the Hamilton County Election Commission as it opened at 8 a.m. Friday, brainstorming a response to Mayfield's expected appearance.
"This is all about a new flavor of Mayfield ice cream -- 'Sour Grapes,'" Fleischmann Chief of Staff Chip Saltsman joked while waiting.
The aides waited for several hours, but Mayfield never showed up.
Mayfield initially declined to concede the race because, he said, private polling in recent days showed him doing much better in Hamilton County than he actually did when the votes were counted.
Weston Wamp won Hamilton County by 101 votes, and it was the only county in the district that Mayfield didn't win or finish second. Instead he came in third, 19 percentage points and 6,000 votes behind Wamp.
Mayfield lost by a similar number of votes districtwide and declined to concede Thursday "because it sounds like someone may have made a mistake" in Hamilton County, he said.
The 62-year-old Athens resident reversed that position Friday, and Fleischmann thanked him for the congratulatory call.
"One of my biggest weaknesses is my love of Mayfield ice cream, and I look forward to sitting down with Scottie -- hopefully over some milk and ice cream -- and talking about the conservative principles and solutions we both believe in," the congressman said in a news release.
Mayfield did not rule out another run for office down the road.
"I would say I need to savor this moment for a while before I answer something like that," he said. "I'm glad I did this. I'll be a better person."
Chris Carroll covers federal politics for the Times Free Press. A Chattanooga native, he went to Red Bank High School and graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University. Chris investigated violent crime, municipal government and hospitals before taking the political beat. For tornado coverage, he and Pam Sohn won a first-place Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors deadline reporting award. In 2010, Chris won the Golden Press Card Award of Merit and another deadline reporting ...