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TN lawmaker targeted by PAC born of the #metoo movement

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State Rep. David Byrd

State Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro (Photo: Tennessee General Assembly)

A national political action committee that sprung from the #metoo movement is including a Tennessee lawmaker in its effort to stop men from being re-elected who have been accused of “turning against women.”

The PAC “Enough is Enough” is including Rep. David Byrd, R-Waynesboro, among five lawmakers across the country who they are targeting in order to try and keep them from winning re-election.

“We're calling for Rep. David Byrd to resign today or we will have a full-fledged campaign against him,” said Sherry Jones, former state representative and member of the Tennessee chapter of Enough is Enough.

Jones said the organization has between $75,000 and $100,000 and will begin sending mailers throughout Byrd’s district to share the accusations against him.

Jones said volunteers will also go door to door.

The accusations against Byrd first surfaced in a News4 I-Team investigation that revealed how three women accused him of sexual misconduct when they were teenagers and he was their basketball coach.

Among the three accusers was Christi Rice, who spoke at the news conference and said, despite facing backlash in her community, she is resolved to keep speaking out.

“I guess it's just time to stand up,” Rice said.

Rice provided the News4 I-Team a recording of her confronting Byrd over the phone.

"David, you know exactly what happened 30 years ago. I don't know what happened with the others," Rice can be hearing saying in the recording.

"Well, now, there's no others,” Byrd responded.

Gov. Bill Haslam would not comment on whether he thinks Rep. David Byrd should resign in light of sexual misconduct allegations, saying the lawmaker’s fate should be left up to the voters. Last week three women claimed Byrd, R-Waynesboro, initiated

Later in the conversation, Byrd can be hearing saying, "I wish I had a do-over because I promise you I would have corrected that and that would've never happened. But I hope you believe me when I say that it's one of those things that I think about it all the time, and I always ask forgiveness for it and I hope you forgive me. It's one of those things I've really beaten myself up and I don't know if you believe that or not. But I do. All the time. There hasn't been a Sunday that's gone by when I'm doing my communion and everything and I'm asking forgiveness for sins, my sins, that's one of the things that I do."

Byrd has never explained what he was apologizing for, but in a statement, issued at the time of our investigation, he denied doing anything wrong since being in office.

Byrd did not respond to calls to his office or his cell phone or an email requesting a comment about the PAC’s news conference.

Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

Chief Investigative Reporter

Jeremy Finley is the News4 I-Team's Chief Investigative Reporter. He has won multiple Midsouth Emmy and Edward R. Murrow Awards.

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