Scottie Mayfield, president of Mayfield Dairy, has confirmed he will run for Congress.
Mayfield, a 61-year old resident of Athens, said Friday he was in the process of filing formal paperwork for his candidacy. His entry into the 3rd District Republican primary marks a major shift in the candidate landscape, as what had become seen as a two-person race between Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and Weston Wamp will now include a third serious candidate.
"We have turned the pages and are moving forward," Mayfield said in a phone interview with Nooga.com. "We've been through the process of understanding as a family what we're getting into here, and we feel like we're actually offering something that people would be very interested in. We're excited."
Mayfield, who has no prior political experience, said recently he began realistically considering a run for office after redistricted lines included his Athens home within 3rd District boundaries. In the coming weeks, Mayfield said he planned to hold a public event to announce his bid.
"I think we ought to get amongst the people," he said.
Following Mayfield's announcement, both Fleischmann and Wamp issued statements responding to the news.
"We welcome him to the race," Fleischmann said.
Wamp, the son of former 3rd District Rep. Zach Wamp, said Mayfield's entry would draw a greater contrast between his own campaign and the "status quo" in Washington and indicated he was ready to begin distinguishing himself from Mayfield along with the incumbent.
"If we're going to be serious about fixing what's broken in Washington, we don't need more people retiring to Congress," he said. "We need a new generation of leadership that will fight for real reform and long-term solutions. That's what my campaign is all about."
Along with Fleischmann and Wamp, Mayfield will find his name on the ballot with Dr. Jean Howard-Hill and Ron Bhalla. The 3rd District primary is set for Aug. 2.
Updated @ 8:50 a.m. on 02/04/2012 to add comment from Fleischmann and Wamp.