Candidate calls foe 'Pinocchio' over mailing

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) -- A Republican state Senate candidate in Chattanooga is accusing his opponent's campaign of anonymously sending voters a copy of his ex-wife's 1997 petition for an order of protection.

Todd Gardenhire brandished the mailing as he told the Hamilton County Republican Women's Club on Tuesday that the petition was dismissed within days. He likened his foe in the Aug. 2 primary, Greg Vital, to "Pinocchio" for not telling the whole story.

Vital was on hand for Gardenhire's accusations. Vital told the Chattanooga Times Free Press after the meeting that he had no idea whether his campaign was involved in the mailing that went to some District 10 voters.

The two are vying for a seat left open when incumbent Democrat Andy Berke decided to run for mayor of Chattanooga.

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