Backing up Jonathan Chait’s local-politics-are-the-worst thesis, a Tennessee state senator had a very busy fall, for reasons that have nothing to do at all with his job. Jim Summerville of Dickson probably spent most of September apologizing to his neighbors, after police picked him up for openly drinking in their yards. And no, it was not a B.Y.O.B. barbecue.
Things only got worse after that, when Summerville allegedly began stalking a neighbor who blocked him from calling animal control on a different neighbor’s dog. While the least-concerning allegations involve him shining lights into her dining room and T.P.-ing her porch, the neighbor also says she feels like Summerville is always watching her, and has seen him hold up threatening signs.
The state senator has responded to the new stalking charges by threatening to sue the city of Dickson, of course: “Settlement negotiations will start at one million dollars,” Summerville said in a statement. Despite all this, the neighbor who filed stalking charges against Summerville still called him “intelligent.” Go figure.
He may well be acting out because his local fame comes to an end November 4, when his successor will officially be selected by voters. Summerville lost in the state’s Republican primary in August.