While State Senate Candidate Randy Camp has received the blessing of the state's highest ranking Democrat in his quest to hold the state Senate seat of former Lt. Governor John Wilder for the party, another state Democrat of significantly less prominence is not at all enthusiastic about the candidacy of Mr. Camp.
The letter, dated July 15, which Mr. Roland says was sent to Governor Bredesen, Lt. Governor Wilder and "various others around the 26th state Senate District" accuses Mr. Camp of gross martial misconduct.
"Randy Camp's conduct while married to my sister was horrible. He was having several affairs right under our noses. His actions have resulted in at least two broken marriages and damage to others, Families in both Crockett and Gibson Counties have been hurt by all of this. Lisa also received anonymous letters from Nashville telling her of extramarital affairs as well," says Roland in the letter.
Attached with the letter is a copy of the divorce judgment against Mr. Camp in which Camp concedes to adultery as grounds for the divorce. An appellate court decision which gets into further details of the divorce including a dispute over alimony, is also online.
"Mr. Camp contends that the trial court erred in awarding Ms. Camp alimony in futuro rather than rehabilitative alimony, and in setting alimony at an inappropriately high amount. Mr. Camp asserts that, as the trial court found, Ms. Camp is a healthy and intelligent woman who is capable of earning $25,000 to $40,000 per year, depending on whether she completes her bachelor’s degree. He argues that the parties did not enjoy a lavish lifestyle during the course of their marriage and that, in light of the division of property, Ms. Camp is able to maintain a lifestyle similar to that enjoyed prior to the divorce and does not need alimony in futuro."
Camp's brother-in-law says that, while he does usually vote Democrat, he is not a political person and has no political agenda -- he simply feels called to speak out.
"I'm just a country boy standin' up for my sister," Roland tells Post Politics. "If [Camp] had just waited a year or two, nobody in this family would have said a word about any of this."
Indeed, timing seems to be a very crucial issue for Roland. He objects quite vigorously to the opening of wounds so quickly after infliction contending that the final divorce appeal was only resolved a month before Mr. Camp threw his hat in the ring for state senate (although he did appear to waver a bit).
Tommy Roland explains, "After nearly twenty years of infidelity and two years fighting in court, we all thought it was finally over. Then, thirty days after the court decided for Lisa, Mr. Camp announced his candidacy. How he could even think about running for office at this point in time is unbelievable."
When contacted Camp's ex-wife, Lisa Faye Roland Camp, told Post Politics that while she was not aware of her brother's intention to send the letter she supports her brother in "doing what he felt he needed to do" and vouches for the letter's veracity.
"Everything in the letter is true," explains the candidate's ex-wife.
“For the past several months I have been dealing with personal matters involving my family in West Tennessee,” Camp said. “These matters have now reached a level of complexity that will require even more of my attention over the coming weeks, perhaps months.”
Contacted by Post Politics, Camp said he was aware of the letter and, in fact, said the one originally received by Post Politics is not the only one of its kind circulating. Indeed, a different version of the letter, dated July 28, includes a postscript mentioning the harassment he received after sending the first letter.
Camp thinks that the distribution of these letters are, at the very least, intriguing.
"For a guy who claims to know nothing about politics, it's interesting that these letters are shipped through bulk mail and seem to be sent to targeted voters," explained Camp.
Camp tells P-squared that his campaign has received many, many calls about the letters most always from white female voters. Camp says that even when the callers are male they are always calling on behalf of a wife or a sister. Camp would not comment on whether he thought the letters were part of a coordinated effort by political opponents.
As to the content of the letter(s), Camp says there are both true and untrue statements contained within. He says, in the interest of his daughters (who support him and travel with him on the campaign trail), he is not going to go about rebutting any of it. That said, Camp does not shy away from admitting wrongdoing.
"Listen, like some folks have told me, if they had just stuck with the truth it would be bad enough," said Camp. "I'm not hiding or covering up anything."
The alimony dispute, Camp explains, was in the interest of his children.
"My ex-wife got quite a bit of property up front and she is capable of working. I was simply trying to get more money to my children. The judge made his decision, though, and that's the end of it," Camp explained.
Camp does not believe that his adultery should in any way disqualify him from office.
"If we only allowed perfect people to serve, we wouldn't have many people up there," explained Camp. "But that's up to the voters to decide."
Camp will face current state Rep. Dolores Gresham, who weeks ago emerged from a squeaker of a GOP primary with former candidate Bob Schutt, in the general election for the traditionally Democratic seat. The open seat is crucial one in the battle for the General Assembly as the Tennessee state Senate is currently divided evenly 16-16-1.