published Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Wamp weighs in on 3rd District fight

by Dan Whisenhunt

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

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PDF: Financial disclosures for Republican candidates for governor

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Poll: Would you vote for Zach Wamp to be governor of Tennessee?

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Audio clip

U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp

People should expect fireworks during the race for his 3rd District congressional seat, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., said Monday.

"Iron sharpens iron," he said while in town at the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club. "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."

Third District 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 Mr. Huckabee's connections to the Fleischmann camp brought him to the state, not Mr. Fleischmann's credentials. Her campaign also hinted that Mr. Huckabee was paid to come here.

Mr. Fleischmann hit back, saying Mrs. Smith's claims are not true. And, while in Chattanooga, Mr. Huckabee also accused Mrs. Smith of being dishonest.

"There really is no need for that in a primary," he said at a news conference last week. "I'm not sure it's necessary in the general election, but it's certainly inappropriate in the primary."

It may not be necessary, but it is to be expected, Rep. Wamp said. The nomination fight will be tough, he said, because candidates must show how they're different from their opponents.

Rep. Wamp said a Republican likely will win the seat. And who is he pulling for?

"The Republican," he said with a smile.

Rep. Wamp, who stopped by the Pachyderm Club on Monday to talk about flooding in Tennessee, is in his own primary struggle to be the Republican nominee for governor.

Rep. Wamp's rivals for the GOP nomination for governor are Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville. The Democratic candidate is Mike McWherter.



Tommy Crangle, Chuck Fleischmann, Tim Gobble, Harvey Howard, Jean Howard-Hill, Van Irion, Rick Kernea, Basil Marceaux Sr., Art Rhodes, Robin Smith, Grover Travillian


Alicia Mitchell, Brenda Freeman Short, Brent Davis Staton, John Wolfe


Don Barkman, Mark DeVol, Gregory C. Goodwin, Robert Humphries, Mo Kiah, Savas T. Kyriakidis

Source: Tennessee Department of State

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 ...

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
dshinn said...

While some candidates are bickering about celebrity endorsements and showing off the money in their bank account, many citizens are supporting 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 Van's class action suit against Obamacare at and find out more about Van at

Don't wait until right before the primary in August to study the candidates. Do 3 minutes of research now because you will probably want to tell a friend or two about him.

May 4, 2010 at 9:29 a.m.
xpressive1515 said...

Those familiar with the "players" in Hamilton and Bradley County politics know that this race was never supposed to happen. Like the Kennedys in Massachussetts, the local repubs viewed this to be Zach's seat along with the right to annoint the successor, Robin Smith. The bullying with which her campaign treats all other contenders illustrates that she believes this as well.

May 4, 2010 at 10:29 a.m.
NoPolitico said...

While Tennessee favors conservative politicians, it may be time to consider throwing off the old ways and taking a close look outside the two major parties, including outside the GOP. There are plenty of independents in this year's race for the third district. I hope the press will take the time to draw them more into the spotlight and offer the voters a broader choice of viewpoints. In particular, finding an independent who is not more right than the republicans (or more left than the democrats) could serve our nation's interests well.

May 11, 2010 at 11:22 p.m.
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