By Cliff Hightower Staff Writer
Two Republicans have filed petitions to run for the 4th Congressional District seat currently held by Democrat Lincoln Davis, election officials said Wednesday.
A third person also picked up a qualifying petition for the seat but had not filed it as of Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
The deadline for candidates to f ile petitions is today.
Chris Devaney, executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, said Thursday he thinks whoever wins the Aug. 3 Republican primary will have a shot at defeating Mr. Davis.
"Mr. Davis is not really a prolific fund-raiser," Mr. Devaney said. "If the person who runs against him is well financed, I think that person could give Mr. Davis a run for his money."
A Vanderbilt University political science professor disagreed.
"It does not look like Lincoln Davis has a serious challenger," Dr. Bruce Oppenheimer said. "You would think if someone was going to seriously run against him, they would have a couple of hundred thousand dollars by now and some name recognition."
Mr. Davis is seeking his third term. The 4th District encompasses 24 counties including Marion, Sequatchie, Bledsoe and Grundy.
So far, Alan Pedigo, an engineer from Columbia, Tenn., and Don Strong, a respiratory therapist from Crossville, Tenn., have filed petitions to run against Mr. Davis, local election officials said. State election records show Mr. Pedigo ran for state Senate in 2002 but lost in the primary.
According to Mr. Strong’s Web site, he served 10 years in the U.S. Army and has lived in Crossville for 25 years. He said Wednesday that he thinks he can rally the medical community around him, as well as working-class people.
Mr. Pedigo said Wednesday he has raised $47,000 for his campaign. The latest campaign records show Mr. Davis had just more than $146,000 in his war chest as of Jan. 31.
"This is a good year to take on Lincoln Davis and defeat him," Mr. Pedigo said. "He has a record now. He voted for Nancy Pelosi as House Minority leader, and he’s shown he’s soft on immigration."
But Mr. Strong said he didn’t think Mr. Pedigo could beat Mr. Davis in the general election.
"If I thought he could win, I wouldn’t have been compelled to run," Mr. Strong said.
Andy Ogles, a Franklin, Tenn., businessman, has not returned his petition, Williamson County election officials said.
Mr. Ogles could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Consultants for Rep. Davis’ re-election bid could not be reached Wednesday.
Dr. Oppenheimer said he thinks it will be tough for any challenger to face Mr. Davis.
"He has name identification, and he probably has the capacity to raise money in a hurry," Dr. Oppenheimer said.
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