After questioning the counting of votes in Hamilton County Thursday night, congressional candidate Scottie Mayfield has conceded the race to Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Mayfield told Nooga.com he called the congressman Friday afternoon to congratulate him on his victory.
"We both agreed that we'd like to get together, visit and talk about things that need to be done in Washington," Mayfield said. "He's hopefully going to be our congressman. I became pretty passionate on some issues toward the end of the campaign that we didn't get to talk about because our message and strategy was formulated, and I want to make sure he's passionate about some of those same things."
Mayfield's comment on a formulated strategy came nearly 16 hours after state officials called the race for Fleischmann, showing the congressman 6,000 votes ahead of Mayfield. But Mayfield's campaign strategist, Tommy Hopper, advised the candidate to not concede defeat because of a perceived discrepancy of votes tallied in Hamilton County—the only district to not be won by either Fleischmann or Mayfield.
Weston Wamp, the son of former Rep. Zach Wamp, carried the county by 101 votes. Upon final count, Mayfield trailed in Hamilton County by nearly 20 points—far off from the spread his private campaign polling indicated.
On Friday, Mayfield admitted the tallies were correct.
"We did well, and if you add it all up with the exception of Hamilton County, we did great," he said. "We just didn't do what we needed to do there. Compared to what our expectations had been, and compared to recent polling done by us and other candidates, it was a surprise."
Mayfield declined to comment on the potential impact his decision to not participate in candidate debates held in Chattanooga may have had on his showing in Hamilton County and said he was not remorseful of his decision to rely on consultants to guide the strategy and direction of his campaign. The 62-year-old former president of Mayfield Dairy Farms said he was ultimately proud of his first bid for public office, calling it "an incredibly positive experience."
"I gave people another option, and I felt like there were three good choices," he said. "That's very unusual for the electorate to have, three choices who are good choices. I'm proud to be one of those three, and I'm proud to have come in second. I'm going to get on my tractor this afternoon for the first time in four months. I'm good."
Mayfield did not rule out the possibility of a future run.
Initial attempts by Nooga.com to reach Fleischmann, along with Hopper, were unsuccessful.
Nooga.com will have more updates on this story as they become available.