published Monday, May 3rd, 2010

Chattanooga: Wamp says fireworks expected in congressional race

by Dan Whisenhunt

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp stopped by the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club to talk about flooding in Tennessee, but he also addressed the rough-and-tumble Republican primary for his 3rd Congressional District seat.

The nomination fight will be tough, he said, because candidates must show how they’re different from their opponents. But he said a Republican will likely win the seat.

“Iron sharpens iron,” Rep. Wamp said today. “Sometimes sparks fly. People shouldn't let that bother them as much as making sure that we are in position to bring everyone together after the primary.”

Candidates Robin Smith, the former state Republican Party chairwoman, and attorney Chuck Fleischmann are locked in a bitter primary struggle for the party nomination. Both campaigns went into overdrive last week when former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee came to town to stump for Mr. Fleischmann.

Mrs. Smith’s campaign said it’s Mr. Huckabee’s connections to the Fleischmann camp that brought him to the state and also hinted that the former governor was paid to come to Tennessee. Mr. Fleischmann has hit back, saying Mrs. Smith’s claims are not true. Mr. Huckabee also accused Mrs. Smith of being dishonest.

Rep. Wamp is giving up his congressional seat to run for governor.

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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dshinn said...

You mention in your article, quoting Wamp, that "Iron sharpens iron," but failed to mention Van Irion, another strong contender for this seat. While some other candidates are bickering about celebrity endorsements and showing off the money in their bank account, many others are looking closely at Van Irion, who is already going to work for folks that are opposed to "Obamacare." You can join over 29,000 Americans who have already signed on to the class action suit against Obamacare at and find out more about Van at

Van can win this race. You should have seen the numbers of people talking with him at the Liber-Tea Debate and at Coolidge Park for the Tax Day Tea Party. Don't fall for letting the media tell you that you have to pick from Chuck or Robin. Decide for yourself!

May 3, 2010 at 3:04 p.m.
xpressive1515 said...

This is anything but a two way race. The two candidates Congressman Wamp mentioned by name may be the two largest money-raisers, but ironically, they are two of the weaker ones in conveying substance to the voters. Van Irion, for those who aren't yet aware, is the fast-rising star of this campaign. While the Tea Party is beginning to prove that winning elections will no longer be just a function of raising and spending money Van is attracting thousands of dollars per week in individual contributions. Much better than that, though, Van Irion has a message of constitutional substance that frustrated voters want to hear but aren't hearing from the "leading candidates."

May 3, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

I love it. While Robin and Chuck are bickering like little children, Van Irion - the dark horse in the race - is gaining ground on them. Hopefully they will remain too busy to notice the REAL conservative in the race. The one who has actually read the Constitution, understands it, and is willing to follow it even when it may not be politically convenient.

It's about time for the media to give Van Irion some love. True conservatives, Tea Party supporters, and lovers of liberty already know about him ... it is time for everyone else to find out about the best-kept secret soon to be in Washington, DC.

May 3, 2010 at 4:14 p.m.
millard said...

While it may be true that Van Irion has not raised as much money as Robin or Chuck, he has consistently proven that he is capable of doing more with less. He has received national media attention for the lawsuit that he has filed against Obamacare. He has already been to Washington to meet with Congressional legislators to explain the Constitutional basis for the lawsuit. His campaign staff consists almost entirely of unpaid volunteers.

Van's fiscally conservative approach to campaigning speaks volumes on the philosophy he will take to Washington when he is elected. He is exactly the kind of representative that I hope will be managing our tax dollars after November.

May 3, 2010 at 4:41 p.m.
bjennings55 said...

I don't think voters will be attracted to candidates who bicker about such minor issues as the basis for another establishment Republican endorsement. Instead, I think they will be attracted by the creative thinking of Van Irion, who is actually doing something by filing a class action suit against Obamacare on behalf of nearly 30,000 American citizens. It's precisely this kind of clear thinking we need in Washington. Add your name to the suit by visiting>

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