This morning in talking with James Corcoran, Candidate for State Representative District 18 who was sitting between Martin Daniel and Steve Hall before Daniel got up from his seat and the incident of Daniel shoving Hall occurred. Corcoran said, first I am concerned for Martin’s mental health that an incident would result in a physical situation. Additionally, it occurs to me that Daniel who publicly states that he supports free speech to extent of allowing ISIS to recruit on college campuses can not allow the same free speech liberties of having his own words interpreted by his own previous statements by a political opponent.
I received a press release this morning from Martin Daniel. It read,
On Thursday night I appeared on a local radio show with my fellow candidates in an effort to discuss the problems facing the 18th District of Tennessee. For those of you who tuned in, prior to the last five minutes, you heard a thorough conversation about many of the topics on which I have focused my campaign. I believe that we accomplished a lot and told the voters of the 18thDistrict much of what they needed to know. The majority of the show functioned exactly how civil discourse should.
For those of you who tuned in, or for many who have seen the news, I am sure what happened at the end of the show has been confusing and frustrating.
What I want to do is to clear the air on what happened Thursday night and offer some words to my opponent and to voters. At the end of the show, one of my opponents attacked me, yelling that I was a liar and aggressively gesturing at me while I made closing arguments. I do not take lightly my integrity being questioned. I am an imperfect man who makes mistakes, but I strive always to be honest.
The show, as many friends who were listening confirmed, became incredibly tense. In the midst of this, I tried to respond to my opponent’s criticism and the argument escalated. As many of you heard, what ensued could only be described as chaos. Mr. Hall began to rise from his seat, and, fearing confrontation, I created distance between myself and my opponent, at which point our host and staff intervened in the situation.
Somehow, there was no intervention during the escalation before this brief encounter, but I am very grateful that it did not go any further. I regret that such a productive conversation escalated so quickly into a situation that I am not proud of, and that was completely counterproductive to efficient democracy.
As I mentioned when I returned to the show briefly, I am sincerely sorry that I, personally, allowed the situation to get out of hand. I lost my cool when attacked and did not handle the situation with the even-minded attitude I usually strive to model. I have reached out to each of my fellow candidates to make sure that they know where I stand.
While I believe this argument and situation is on the hands of at least two people, I am sorry that my behavior was not representative of the values that I espouse as a Christian, husband, and father. My hope is that during the rest of this election season we can proceed with a more peaceful and friendly atmosphere among the candidates and that we will all be able to re-focus on the issues. I promise that I will be spending the next few days in thought and prayer, to be
sure I never let the heat of a campaign get the best of me again.