published Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Smith leaving options open for 2012

by Larry Henry

Robin Smith, who finished second in the 3rd Congressional District GOP primary election, says she is moving on after the bitterly fought race but is leaving her options open for another run in 2012.

“Chuck Fleischmann is the winner,” she said Wednesday. “I have extended a hand.”

Fleischmann faces Democrat John Wolfe in the Nov. 2 general election.

During a rally Wednesday morning, Fleischmann, a Chattanooga attorney and political newcomer, said he hopes for party unity going into the November general election and welcomes those who voted for the 10 other Republicans who ran in the primary.

“For those who chose another candidate, welcome home to Team Chuck,” he told supporters at the Hamilton County Republican Party headquarters on North Market Street.

Fleischmann addressed 19 staff members and supporters in kicking off a three-day “thank you tour” of the district’s 11 counties.

In a news conference after the address, Fleischmann said he has not responded to an e-mail request from Smith to meet and reconcile differences that arose during race.

He accused her in campaign television advertising of leaving the state party with a financial shortfall when she handed over the reins in 2009. Her campaign maintained the party owed vendors for previous contracts but held a fundraising function a few months later to retire the debt.

Smith, a Hixson health care consultant, said she expects the 3rd District to be redrawn after the 2010 census, possibly leaving a more compact area in the southern end than the current configuration.

“Recognizing the district in 2012 will be configured differently,” she said, “all options (for an election bid) are open.”

Like a ribbon, the 11-county district now extends from the Georgia to Kentucky state lines and includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge.

Smith defeated Fleischmann in Hamilton County in the Aug. 5 primary, but he ran well in the northern counties and finished first overall in an 11-candidate field with 30 percent of the vote. Smith, a former state GOP chairwoman, received 28 percent of the vote.

U.S. House members serve two-year terms.

Fleischmann said the event Wednesday shows the party is unified behind him and that voters in the district want him to talk about issues such as job creation and lower taxes.

“We need to make sure we reduce income tax rates,” Fleischmann said. “We need to make sure Americans keep more of their money.”

Among those in attendance were former state Rep. Bobby Wood and legislative candidate Teresa Wood, who is seeking the House District 28 seat held by Rep. Tommie Brown, D-Chattanooga.

State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, who also attended the event, said he does not think any post-election rift between Smith and Fleischmann is a prelude to a 2012 rematch.

“I think she will support Chuck for Congress and that we’ll all come together in that cause,” he said.

McCormick said he is running for the position of state House speaker in anticipation that Republicans will capture majority control of the lower chamber in November. Other potential contenders for House speaker include Reps. Beth Harwell, R-Nashville, and Glen Casada, R-Franklin.

Smith later noted that, even if McCormick does not become House speaker, he probably will serve in a leadership capacity and would play a significant role when the 2011 General Assembly redraws the state’s congressional districts.

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gimmeabreak said...

The TFP writers and staff are the only people in town concerned about Mrs. Smith's inability to get over her loss in the primary. And most would not consider Mrs. Smith's demand to meet her opponent & her invitees, at a time & place of her choosing, to be an "extension of a hand." Move on Mrs. Smith. Move on TFP.

August 19, 2010 at 8:05 a.m.
politicalprof said...

Two words accurately describe Robins Smith’s campaign and post-election performance, ungracious and divisive. At the last Pachyderm Club meeting, Ms. Smith definitely made a spectacle of herself with her comments and threats. She could not have been more childish and bitter acting if she tried. She feels that she must blame Mr. Fleischmann for her loss even though she ran against other candidates that also took votes from her bottom number. Mr. Fleischmann won 7 out of the 11 counties. Her concession speech was not a graceful speech giving credit to her opponent. Not a “we’ll get them next time” rally-type speech. And certainly not an I-lost –because-the voters-made –their-choice speech. After seeing her performance post-election, it reconfirms my initial thoughts that she would definitely hurt the 3rd congressional district while in Washington. We are now witnessing the true nature of Robin Smith I don’t believe that she deserves the deference that most losers of political races get. She stepped in and danced in the slime all by herself. She has now shown what a loser she really is. I am sure we have not heard the last of Robin Smith (God help us), so please remember her hissy-fit and blame game concerning her loss the next time you see her name on a ballot. Her actions during and after the campaign have condemned herself to the dustbin of irrelevancy.

August 19, 2010 at 1:27 p.m.
musiccity4me said...

She is hoping Nashville drives the better organized counties for Fleischmann out of the District in redistricting. That would nuetralize Beauchamp and the Union County folks and my fiend Robin is back in the game. Fat chance. Anderson and Roane County were the margin of victory. Fleischmann will keep his key people in the 3rd District. However, it is her best shot.

August 19, 2010 at 4:03 p.m.
harrystatel said...

While I did not vote for Robin Smith or Mr. Fleischmann, Chuck will do himself a great disservice if he gives in to Robin Smith.

Mr. Fleischmann, now is the time to have cojones. If you truly want to fight power structures and special interests, begin at home. There's no future with a Brutus "watching your back."

It's also a good time for an independent candidate to come forth. I'll certainly consider someone other than Fleischmann or Wolfe.

Harry Statel

August 20, 2010 at 3:42 p.m.
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