In the final three weeks before the Aug. 5 primary election, Chattanooga attorney Chuck Fleischmann has $555,084 in campaign cash on hand, while Robin Smith, a GOP rival in the 3rd Congressional District race, has $291,592 in the bank, according to the Federal Election Commission website.
Mr. Fleischmann raised $71,365 through the second quarter of 2010, bringing his total from campaign contributors to $251,976. Mrs. Smith, a Hixson health care consultant and former state Republican Party chairwoman, has raised $623,103 for the election, including $223,233 during the second quarter, the FEC site shows.
In addition, Mr. Fleisch-mann has contributed $598,000 of his own money to the race, including $54,000 in the quarterly reporting period that ended June 30, the website shows. Seventy percent of the $849,976 he has raised has come from his own pocket. Mrs. Smith has put none of her own money into the race.
Second-quarter campaign contribution reports were due to the FEC on Thursday.
Mr. Fleischmann’s campaign spokesman, Jordan Powell, said he feels "real good” that the campaign has the resources in the home stretch to “get the message out” to voters about the candidate’s conservative views.
Mr. Fleischmann has been airing television commercials featuring Fox News weekend host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Mr. Huckabee is set to appear at a campaign rally for Mr. Fleischmann on Sunday at 12:45 p.m. at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport, Mr. Powell said.
Mrs. Smith’s spokesman, Mark Winslow, said in an e-mail that the campaign has known Mr. Fleischmann would “sink considerable sums of personal wealth” into the race.
“We expect him to unleash a flood of ads, perhaps negative, in his effort to erase Robin’s 20-year head start in proving herself the authentic conservative in the 3rd District,” he said.
Eleven Republicans, four Democrats and six independents are vying for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who has served the district since 1995 but is running for governor. The 11-county 3rd District, representing about 650,000 East Tennesseans, stretches from the Georgia to Kentucky borders and includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge. Congress members earn $174,000 annually.
Early voting begins today.
Another GOP contender, Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble, brought in $29,869 during the quarterly reporting period, raising his campaign receipts to $108,576. He has put none of his own money into the race and has $34,092 in cash on hand, the FEC site shows.
Mr. Gobble’s spokesman, Jeff Lewis, said the candidate is not worried that Mrs. Smith and Mr. Fleischmann have a lot more money to spend on advertising in the final three weeks.
“We believe in a grassroots campaign where people are talking with the candidate,” he said. “Things have been blown out of proportion in terms of money raised. Tim has great name recognition.”
Among Democrats, the only candidate whose figures were posted on the FEC website by Thursday night was Brenda Freeman Short. She raised $8,474 through June 30 and has $2,752 in cash on hand, the FEC site shows.
4th DISTRICT TOTALS
In the sprawling 4th Congressional District west of Chattanooga, Republican Scott DesJarlais, a Jasper, Tenn., doctor, has raised $283,429, including 42,851 through June 30. Though he put none of his own money into the campaign in the second quarter, he has contributed $29,400 out of his pocket for the race. Dr. DesJarlais has $88,258 in cash on hand, the FEC website shows.
Another 4th District Republican candidate, Jack Bailey, a Franklin, Tenn., businessman and former congressional staff member, raised $69,830 through June 30, bringing his total from donors to $213,405. He has contributed $60,500 from his own pocket, but none during the second quarter. Mr. Bailey has $112,522 in cash on hand, according to the FEC website.
The campaign contribution totals for the incumbent, U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., a Fentress County resident who also owns a construction business, had not been posted on the FEC site by Thursday night.
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3rd District candidates
Basil Marceaux Sr.
Brenda Freeman Short
Brent Davis Staton
Gregory C. Goodwin
Savas T. Kyriakidis
4th District Candidates
Ronald L. Harwell
Donald “Don” Strong
Paul H. Curtis
Richard S. Johnson
Source: Tennessee Department of State, Division of Elections