published Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

Fleischmann outpaces opponents


by Matt Wilson

Excel: Spreadsheet showing candidate fundraising

IN OTHER DISTRICTS

Figures are total funds raised, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Tennessee's 4th District

* Rep. Lincoln Davis (D): $403,391

* Scott DesJarlais (R): $154,635

* Jack Bailey (R): $103,450

Georgia's 9th District

* Tom Graves (R): $389,041

* Lee Hawkins (R): $304,685*

* Christopher Cates (R): $276,478

* Stephen Tarvin (R): $138,581

* Bill Stephens (R): $61,215*

* Jeremy Jones (R): $2,736

* Filings have not been updated since October

Chattanooga attorney Chuck Fleischmann, a Republican, has more than double the campaign funds of any of his opponents for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District seat, records show.

Mr. Fleischmann has amassed nearly $522,000 so far, according to Federal Election Commission records through Dec. 31.

"Even though I started this race with virtually no name recognition and without ever having held political office, I've worked nonstop these past few months to meet and talk with the people of the 3rd District, and they are responding positively to my message of less government and lower taxes," Mr. Fleischmann said.

Former Tennessee Republican Party Chairwoman Robin Smith raised the second-most money in the race by the end of the year, with a little more than $240,000, records show.

Mark Winslow, spokesman for Mrs. Smith, trumpeted the fact that none of the Smith campaign's funds have come from the candidate.

"While other candidates are forced to continue running up debt to keep pace with her campaign, Robin believes that if you are going to be a responsible congressman you must first be a responsible candidate," he said. "The numbers show Tennesseans agree."

More than 70 percent of Mr. Fleischmann's total -- $380,000 -- came out of the candidate's own pocket. Most of the remainder came from individual donors, including Tennessee Finance Commissioner Dave Goetz, Krystal Co. President James Exum and Hamilton County Commissioner Bill Hullander.

About $235,000 of Mrs. Smith's funding came from individual contributions, while the remaining $5,000 was from political action committees, records show.

Donors to her campaign include Jack McKee of McKee Foods Corp., Zan Guerry of Chattem and Christopher Healy, chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party.

Scott Probasco Jr. contributed to both Mr. Fleischmann and Mrs. Smith's campaigns, records show.

The only other candidate to post a six-digit figure was businessman Art Rhodes, who has about $115,000, records show. Like Mr. Fleischmann, Mr. Rhodes, a Republican from Cleveland, Tenn., put the lion's share of that money -- $75,000 -- into his own campaign.

Mr. Rhodes said his campaign has been a "very good steward" of the campaign money so far and that he'll raise the money he needs to get his message out.

Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, also a Republican, had amassed a war chest of about $54,000, records show, but he said his campaign will be competitive.

"I'm not trying to be the top fundraiser in this race," he said. "Votes matter."

Chattanooga businessman Tommy Crangle raised about $22,500 as of Dec. 31, with about $20,000 coming from the candidate himself, a Republican.

Mr. Crangle said he really has not started a fundraising program.

"Public service shouldn't be about an amount of money," he said.

Independent candidate Mark DeVol's fundraising total held at $989, the same amount he reported in the last fundraising report in October.

Republican John Whitley raised no funds, according to the FEC Web site. Republican Van Irion and independent Greg Goodwin did not have reports available on the FEC site.

No Democrats officially have entered the race.

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