GOP challenger's son charged with slashing Fleischmann aide's tire

The son of a Republican challenging Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) was charged Thursday with vandalism after being caught on camera slashing a Fleischmann aide's tires.

Republican Scottie Mayfield said his son, 33-year-old Michael Mayfield, confessed to police in Kingston, Tenn., Thursday morning. The son was charged with vandalism under $500, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.

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On Tuesday, surveillance cameras outside a courthouse Mayfield was campaigning caught a man exiting Mayfield's campaign bus and tinkering with the tire of the 2005 Audi belonging to Tyler Threadgill, Fleischmann's campaign manager. Threadgill was attending the event to film footage of Mayfield, as campaigns frequently do to track their opponents.

"On behalf of my family and my campaign, I want to apologize to Mr. Threadgill, Rep. Fleischmann, and to the voters for this act. I am truly sorry and embarrassed," Scottie Mayfield said in a statement released to The Hill.

Mayfield said his son would apologize personally to Threadgill and was prepared to repay the damage to the car. Mayfield had cut the stem on Threadgill's tire, which caused it to later deflate.

Mayfield said he had asked the local police chief to treat his son no differently than anyone else.

"This kind of activity has no place in campaigns and we are regretful that it happened," Mayfield said.

Mayfield had initially said he was unaware of the incident, and his spokesman told the newspaper Wednesday that he didn't think anyone from the campaign was involved. Mayfield later said his son told him of his actions early Thursday morning, and the son confessed to police less than two hours later.

"We understand they have apologized, but the question is: Did they do so because they are sorry or is it politically motivated because they got caught?" said Fleischmann spokesman Jordan Powell. "Just last week their political consultant said they would not engage in this kind of dirty politics, and now they have."

Mayfield and Weston Wamp, the son of former Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), are challenging Fleischmann in the GOP primary. Polls have indicated a tough path to victory in the primary for Fleischmann.