published Friday, August 13th, 2010

Candidates’ feud splits GOP unity breakfast

by Larry Henry

Robin Smith, a former state Republican Party chairwoman who finished second in the Aug. 5 primary election for the 3rd Congressional District seat, will not attend a GOP unity breakfast Saturday for Chuck Fleischmann, the Chattanooga attorney who narrowly defeated her in the bitterly fought race.

That was revealed this week in a spirited e-mail exchange between her campaign spokesman, Mark Winslow, and Fleischmann spokesman Jordan Powell. A Times Free Press reporter was copied on the e-mail exchange.

In one e-mail, Winslow said Smith was made aware of the unity event “through a release to the media, rather than directly.”

“With more than two days notice she might have been able to adjust her schedule,” Winslow wrote. “She will be unable to attend.”

The event is set for 9 a.m. Saturday at the Country Place restaurant at 7320 Shallowford Road, but Winslow told the Times Free Press that Smith is helping her daughter move into a dorm at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn., that morning.

Smith, a Hixson health care consultant, also did not attend a statewide GOP unity event last weekend in Nashville.

Powell said Thursday he hopes Smith is able to attend the Chattanooga event but that he does not want “to get into the back and forth” over whether a feud exists that could divide local Republicans for some time.

“We are focused on everybody coming together in November,” Powell said.

In a crowed GOP field, Fleischmann finished first by 2 percentage points over Smith last week, but she beat him in Hamilton County by 1,174 votes.

Fleischmann faces Democrat John Wolfe in the Nov. 2 general election. Wolfe ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee in 2002 and 2004.

During this year’s campaign, Fleischmann aired television ads accusing Smith of leaving the state GOP with a financial shortfall when she handed over the reins in 2009. She accused him in radio advertising of being a “slip-and-fall” attorney who got rich in part by suing a local rifle club, Walmart and a church.

Hamilton County Republican Party Chairwoman Delores Vinson compared the post-election feud to a football game in which the players and coaches ultimately accept the outcome but the fans remain angry. The county party is co-sponsoring the unity event with the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club.

“Some of the supporters and staff members are having a hard time dealing with disappointment and success,” Vinson said.

Vinson, whose daughter worked for Smith during the campaign, said the candidates should meet to resolve differences and that “it falls to Chuck to reach out.”

Fleischmann angered some in the local party in May by refusing to attend the annual Hamilton County Lincoln Day dinner. He said he boycotted the event over what he called a “pay-to-play” scenario in which candidates paid $2,000 to speak.

The Smith campaign said Fleischmann did not attend because he knew she had a strong base of support locally and would win the straw vote, which she did.

Dr. Richard Wilson, a political science professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, said time will heal wounds between the two camps. However, even if Smith supporters decide not to turn out for Fleischmann in November, he said, the district is so conservative that a Democrat will have a difficult time winning.

“The Republican is a very strong front-runner,” he said.

The 11-county 3rd District stretches from Georgia to Kentucky and includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge.

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, who has represented the district since 1995, ran for governor this year instead of seeking re-election to Congress. He finished second in the GOP primary last week to Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, who faces Democrat Mike McWherter in November.

E-mail exchange

Date: Aug 11, 2010. 7:05 EDT


Thank you for the invitation. Appropriate protocol would have been to coordinate this event with the individual campaigns to ensure availability and success. To date, your candidate has made no effort to reach out to Robin and I regret to inform you she has a previously scheduled conflict. Unfortunately she was made aware of this event through a release to the media, rather than directly. With more than two days notice she might have been able to adjust her schedule. She will be unable to attend.

Mark Winslow

Date: Aug. 11, 2010. 7:19 EDT


Thank you for the etiquette instructions; I will try to do better next time. I do need some help clarifying Mrs. Smith’s position, though — has she conceded the race publicly and I just missed it? Because it is my understanding she has not called Chuck to concede or congratulate him. She had the opportunity to do so at the Pachyderm luncheon on Monday, but as you and I know, she chose to use her time in a less constructive manner.


Jordan Powell

Date: Aug. 11, 2010. 7:24 EDT

Considering that she first called you to verify the numbers and then called Chuck, I am sure you know she did call to congratulate him on election night. We’ve had enough lies during the campaign, Jordan. Let’s not continue them after the fact. I believe Chuck is on record publicly stating that she called him. So let’s make sure we have our story straight before we try another lie.


Mark Winslow

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jakobine said...

Health care (transformation) is one of the best issues this current administration has done thus far. With this change individuals will have the opportunity to seek professional and quality health care services. Who would want to return to the days of the horse and buggy, b/w tv sets, manual typewriters, pac man, you get the point? That's about how old the health care system was in the USA. Each day the news is filled with social tragedies in which lives are taken at the hands of known acquaintences and/or family members. Our society is stricken with the institutions of white collar crime permeating throughout this great nation and greed which tends to strike at the very fabric of our country. If you are looking for affordable health insurance check out . I hope everyone will soon recognize and use the resources made by this transformation to seek professional medical attention as the need arises rather than turning to illegal and criminal activities to resolve their issues.

August 13, 2010 at 4:52 a.m.
moonpie said...

Nobody looks good here.

Perhaps they just can't help it.

August 13, 2010 at 7:13 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

Jordan Powell's email is condescending and rude. I don't blame Robin for not wanting to go along with this superficial stunt when the candidate and his surrogate are not acting sincerely.
In no way am I a supporter of Robin, but in this case, I feel sorry for her being mistreated like this. This is totally classless and mean. Chuck needs to pick up the phone and call her directly and not go through Jordan Powell.

Good grief how petty.

August 13, 2010 at 7:18 a.m.
moonpie said...

I voted for Chuck as the lesser of two evils which could win the Republican Primary.

Since they were so close on the issues, it seems the only way to battle was to claw at each other and to get ruthless.

I think if Robin had stayed above the fray, stayed on message and calmy dismissed the claims, she very well may have one. She didn't have a cool enough head or steady enough of a hand to win.

Chuck proved himself to be ruthless.

At the end of the day, despite being cut from the same cloth, they reveal themselves as totally incompatable, and self-absorbed (not just through this incident, but others as well).

Indeed, Chuck should have inquired when she would be available. However, in the response, lessons on etiquette were not needed. Mark Winslow would look better if he just stated the facts.... he was being petty, too.

I need to learn more about John Wolfe. I can't believe he would be as loathsome as "Robin Fleischmann".

Robin Fleischmann is already acting like a career politician. I thought we were tired of people who act like that.

We'll see.

August 13, 2010 at 7:37 a.m.
sandyonsignal said...

LOL, Robin Fleischmann.

Here you go, moonpie:

He is also on FB, now.

August 13, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.
gm1220 said...

I think that Robin is acting like a score looser. Did we really expect any different from her! She could attend if she wanted to. After all, her daughter is entering her 2nd year and knows her way around Lee U very well. If she were entering kindergarten, I think we all would understand. Chuck is hoping to obtain Robin's endorsement and therefore her supporters will go to him. I don't look for that to happen! As previsiouly stated people voted for Chuck because he is the lesser of the two evils, but again, not saying much, is it!

Chuck, use some of that money to polish your image, Your gonna need it!

August 13, 2010 at 11:36 a.m.

I would just like to point out that in my opinion the two best candidates in this race were from Bradley County. Unfortunately, one almost has to be from Hamilton County to win this seat and most assuredly must have lots of money.

The best candidate did not win this race. In fact the best candidates barely even got noticed by the Hamilton County party establishment, money people, and mass media. Sadly, we are seeing where that has gotten us and will continue to see such for the next two years. Sometimes, Hamilton County would do good to look elsewhere for the answers. Both Smith and Chuck have been disappointing.

August 13, 2010 at 1:08 p.m.
deltenney said...

Not speaking to the merits of either candidate on the issues but to the post election rhetoric give and take: it is totally immature, unworthy, and reflects a poor attitude. Each of the candidates and their handlers should be ashamed of themselves -- grow up and move on!

August 13, 2010 at 1:47 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Jordan Powell. A Times Free Press reporter was copied on the e-mail exchange.

Hey this is a federal crime of e-mail tampering !

August 13, 2010 at 4:34 p.m.
FM_33 said...

LOL, Robin Fleischmann.

Here you go, moonpie:

He is also on FB, now. Username: sandyonsignal | On: August 13, 2010 at 7:55 a.m.

Sandy you got class thanks for that post.

August 13, 2010 at 4:35 p.m.
FM_33 said...

I need to learn more about John Wolfe. I can't believe he would be as loathsome as "Robin Fleischmann". Username: moonpie | On: August 13, 2010 at 7:37 a.m.

Why not visit his office on Cherry St. in downtown Chattanooga TN. He will talk to you and you can ask him all the questions you like.

But make sure to bring him a box of "Moonpie's" he loves the original favor.


August 13, 2010 at 4:40 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Robin Smith is cute but wish she was an Independent instead of a dried out elephant.

August 13, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.
FM_33 said...

I think that Robin is acting like a score looser. Username: gm1220 | On: August 13, 2010 at 11:36 a.m.

You would to if you spent that much money to win this race.

August 13, 2010 at 4:43 p.m.
FM_33 said...

I think that Robin is acting like a score looser. Username: gm1220 | On: August 13, 2010 at 11:36 a.m.

You would to if you spent as much money as she did just to win this race.

August 13, 2010 at 4:45 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Chuck needs to pick up the phone and call her directly and not go through Jordan Powell.

Good grief how petty. Username: sandyonsignal | On: August 13, 2010 at 7:18 a.m.

I agree 100% with you Sandy but you know what Robin should have went to Washington DC with Michael Steele when he came by a few months ago and let him hooked her up with a big time position with the HQ of the GOP.

Then this race would have been like childs play and she could have let it go and not tripped on it.

August 13, 2010 at 4:51 p.m.
FM_33 said...

Ms.Sandyonsignal did you think that Robin had a chance of winning anyway ?

August 13, 2010 at 4:54 p.m.
FM_33 said...

It's so funny how people in this town make a big deal out of the GOP and there power base in the county.

Hell they back stab on each other in a minute and this race has proven once and for all that when it comes to money and personal power you better watch out.

They are as low down as some of the DNC when they do there back and front stabbing on each other.

August 13, 2010 at 4:57 p.m.
CowWhisperer said...

I would have liked to see the first communication that came before the first email reprinted with this story. From what is here, Smith's campaign starts the snide back and forth, and the Fleischmann campaign reciprocates.

Which of the two copied the reporter? Most likely, one of the two expected these communications to never see the light of day. The other is the more guilty because they were intentionally trying to continue throwing dirt on the other.

August 13, 2010 at 6:10 p.m.
anniebelle said...

Robin Smith is cute but wish she was an Independent instead of a dried out elephant. Username: FM_33

Typical logic used by the right-wingers. It doesn't matter she's a hateful, bigoted, know-nothing. I guess you really enjoyed the filthy ad she produced against Harold Ford, Jr. Yeah, she's real classy -- just like that hick from Wasilla (oh, but so cute). If there were an I.Q. test given for voter registration, the GOP would be reduced to one or two votes in this state.

August 14, 2010 at 7:03 a.m.
acerigger said...

"Jes caws i caint reed or wright dont meen i dont no what gud fer AMERACA! like my daddy seds jes look fer the R nex too ther name.

August 14, 2010 at 8:59 a.m.
musiccity4me said...

In America there is a winner and a loser. team building is over stated. Fleischmann won the race, I supported Robin, but it is time to move on. As stated before the pros in Anderson County took this election away from the southern gurus of politics. Oscar needs to call Beauchamp and get some help next time. It all came down to the north.

August 14, 2010 at 12:30 p.m.
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