published Sunday, October 17th, 2010

3rd District hopefuls target Fleischmann

by Jessie Gable
  • photo
    Staff photo by Jake Daniels/Chattanooga Times Free Press -- Oct 16, 2010 Savas Kyriakidis, left, and Mike DeVol, right, listen as John Wolfe speaks on Saturday afternoon. The candidates attended a Tea Party-hosted debate at Woodland Park Baptist Church on Saturday afternoon. Chuck Fleischmann was invited but was absent from the debate.

The Chattanooga Tea Party’s 3rd District debate Saturday was pretty much a free-for-all against Republican nominee Chuck Fleischmann, who wasn’t there to refute the attacks.

Democratic congressional nominee John Wolfe and independent Mark DeVol used the debate at Woodland Park Baptist Church to criticize Fleischmann.

The GOP nominee pleaded scheduling conflicts to debate organizers, but DeVol had a different explanation. He said the Chattanooga attorney was “up in Washington, D.C., picking out his furniture.”

Representatives from the Fleischmann campaign confirmed the scheduling conflict, and said he had already participated in a debate this spring.

Wolfe referred to Fleischmann, who has stayed away from multicandidate events, as the “coward of the county.”

The Fleischmann campaign did not return a call seeking comment Saturday night.

Only Savas Kyriakidis, another independent, used the time to promote his campaign. He consistently referred to his Christian principles and, in his closing remarks, said, “I am not saying put religion in government. I am saying put God back into the equation of government.”

Kyriakidis and DeVol emphasized their conservative credentials to the audience of 100 or so people. Independent candidates Don Barkman, Gregory C. Goodwin, Robert Humphries and Mo Kiah were not present.

DeVol said he is a small-business owner who believes the way to determine constitutionality of laws is by rereading the original Constitution.

Kyriakidis, a restaurant owner, referred often to his military experience as a jumping-off point for his stance on several issues.

Margaret Hyder, 66, said she supports Kyriakidis by making phone calls, sending out e-mails and praying.

“He could easily become president,” Hyder said.

Wolfe stumbled over the words “Iraq” and “Iran” in his answers. A group of his supporters clapped after almost every answer, although the audience was asked at the start to hold its applause.

Some voters notice Fleischmann’s absence, too.

Nathan Bowen, 28, said he came to learn about the candidates and was leaning towards DeVol because of his business-minded approach to government.

“Yeah, [Fleischmann] should have been here,” Bowen said. “But the sponsors of the event were more polite than the candidates.”

Wolfe supporter Harriet Cotter, 74, said Fleischmann’s absence looked “weak” and “afraid.”

“I wish Mr. Fleischmann had the nerve to show up,” Cotter said. “It was a bad move on his part.”

But a Fleischmann supporter Tyler Howell, 24, is sure his candidate will win even without participating in debates.

“I feel like our country is at stake and we have to send the right people to Washington,” Howell said.

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fairmon said...

I will vote for Savas Kyriadidis. I wish he had the funding and exposure to get elected. He has the potential of being an influential member of congress.

It is unfortunate that blind loyalty to a party prevents some voters from making an objective evaluation of all candidates, their qualifications and character.

October 17, 2010 at 7:03 a.m.
moonpie said...

I appreciate voters like harp who will vote for the person they think is the best for the job, rather than the party.

I would hope that all people leaning toward Chuck would take a hard look at Kyriakidis, too. In him, they would find a very principled man. I might not always agree with him, but I trust him.

He is not the political animal that Chuck is... with Chuck, people are voting for business as usual in Washington. He is cut from the same cloth as the folks who are already there.

In reality, a vote for Chuck is a vote for the status quo.

October 17, 2010 at 9:25 a.m.
pemallard said...

It's a shame Chuck wasn't there, he could have answered a lot of questions. Like how a lot of the lobbyist groups that have given him money are also giving Olympia Snowe and Barney Frank money. I don't just read the articles, I did the research myself and Chuck is just like every career politician up in Washington representing the Republican Party. I am voting for DeVol, he has been in the from the start while Savas has been apparently absent from all the other debates and speaking engagements. He is in the military and that's to be commended, my husband and I and two son's have served or are serving, but to use that constantly as your crutch is a disgrace. I am glad he is serving but as a Congressman he can't always speak out against the President if he is also serving in the National Guard. Military law prevents it while serving, that is not what I want in a Congressman, I want someone who can speak out against this mess and yes that means against the President. All the cheering in the audience for John Wolfe was probably his five sisters which attended the event.

October 17, 2010 at 10:36 a.m.
pemallard said...

The total time the candidates spent on talking about Chuck's absence was minute compared to the talking points. Why doesn't the TFP cover the points, you make it sound like they were harping on that and they weren't.

October 17, 2010 at 10:39 a.m.
fairmon said...

Savas was in the race early and I met and talked to him at one meeting where he spoke and impressed the audience. I have met and talked to Devol and I like him as well, I do think he is principled and sincere.

If the independent candidates had gotten together, pooled their resources and supporters and selected either Savas or Devol to run they could be elected. It takes a lot of money and people to beat those buried in the system.

I would like to see a limit on campaign spending and a requirement that the TV stations provide each candidate fifteen prime time minutes each week of the four weeks preceding the day of the vote to make their pitch to all those in the area they seek to serve.

Have the newspaper provide each candidate a full page ad each week end that shows their qualifications, characteristics endorsements and the specific agenda they will pursue if elected.

Negative campaigning to me is the candidate saying I am the least of two evils. It is like saying I may stink but he/she stinks worse. I don't need to know how bad the other person is I need to know specificly what a candidate plans to do and what they stand for.

October 17, 2010 at 6:44 p.m.
NoPolitico said...

It would be good if the press asked the Tea Party who they invited. It might explain why some of the other independents were not there. The article makes it sound like they decided not to attend, but that is not the case. They were not asked.

For anyone wanting to find out what the two other candidates still in the race (Barkman and Kiah) are about, go visit their web sites. You can find Kiah the Libertarian candidate at and Barkman a moderate conservative at If you want nearly no government, Mo is your man. If you want someone who has a long term outlook and is more mainstream than the righter than right DeVol and Mr. K, dig into Barkman.

October 17, 2010 at 8:22 p.m.
TennesseeYankee said...

As one of the Tea Party volunteers, I'd like to point out two errors in this article:

  1. Based upon the number of straw poll votes, which I counted, the number of attendees at the debate was approximately 140, considerably more than the "100 or so" you mentioned.

  2. Mr. Goodwin withdrew from the race because of some personal issues several weeks ago and is not a candidate at this time, which is why he was not present.

October 18, 2010 at 8:25 p.m.
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