A letter from the conservative Club for Growth praises Hixson health care consultant Robin Smith as a "pro-growth warrior" but calls GOP opponent Chuck Fleischmann, a political newcomer and Chattanooga attorney, little worse than a "blank slate."
Both are vying in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District to replace U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is running for governor. Eleven Republicans, four Democrats and six independents are seeking the office.
The winners of the Aug. 5 primary election will square off Nov. 2.
The Club for Grown endorsement letter notes that Mr. Fleischmann "doesn't have a bad record."
"Fact is, he really doesn't have any record," the letter states, adding that he is a "blank slate."
"We don't know where he'll be," the letter adds.
Mike Connolly said the Club for Growth makes endorsement decisions based on where the contenders stand on issues such as taxation, school choice and free trade.
He said the decision to back Mrs. Smith was not based on the endorsement Mr. Fleischmann recently received from Fox television host and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.
The June 28 issue of The New Yorker magazine notes that the Washington, D.C.-based PAC, which Mr. Huckabee has called the Club for Greed, ran attack ads against him during the 2008 presidential race. Mr. Fleischmann's campaign manager is Nashville consultant Chip Saltsman, who was Mr. Huckabee's national campaign manager.
The Club for Growth has endorsed eight congressional candidates nationally, including two in the Chattanooga area -- Mrs. Smith and U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, a Republican who won a special election this spring and faces a primary challenge July 20.
Gun group endorses Ramsey for governor
The Gun Owners of America Political Victory Fund recently endorsed Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron Ramsey and fired shots at two of his GOP primary rivals, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.
GOA Vice Chairman Tim Macy said Lt. Gov. Ramsey, the Senate speaker, "displays a constitutional and historically accurate understanding of the Second Amendment and the threats that face it today."
In 1997, while serving in the House, Mr. Ramsey pushed a bill that expanded handgun carry permit holders' ability to go armed in public places and streamlined the approval process. He also helped push expansions in 2009 and this year.
The gun-rights group said Lt. Gov. Ramsey's stances are in "stark contrast to other candidates in the race."
The group's news release states that Mr. Haslam was a "member of New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg's gun-grabbing group Mayors Against Illegal Guns" and criticizes Rep. Wamp for "joining forces with Sen. John McCain to put a stranglehold on free speech over his support for the so-called Campaign Finance Reform Act."
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Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...