Robin Smith, former Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party and congressional candidate.File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press
A big announcement from Robin Smith is coming tomorrow, she said today.
During a local talk radio show appearance Friday morning, Smith is expected to say whether she’ll challenge U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., ending will-she-or-won’t-she speculation that began last summer.
“Smith has been in an active process of meeting with advisers and supporters to make her decision about a second run for Congress,” a news release sent by Smith said.
Arguably more conservative than Fleischmann, Smith was the congressman’s top Republican rival during last year’s 3rd Congressional District primary race to replace eight-term U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, who ran unsuccessfully for governor.
Smith took 28 percent of the primary balloting, but Fleischmann beat her by two percentage points and won 57 percent of the general election vote, riding a Republican midterm wave to Washington.
One of Smith’s former aides, Mark Winslow, filed something of a political lawsuit earlier this week, jointly accusing Fleischmann and the congressman’s chief of staff, Chip Saltsman, of defamation during last year’s campaign.
Smith has denied any connection to the lawsuit.
A health care consultant, Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party before she ran for Congress. She raised $723,000 during the 2010 primary, according to the news release.
Weston Wamp, the former congressman’s son, and political science professor Jean Howard-Hill have already said they’ll challenge Fleischmann.
No Democrats, independents or third-party candidates have entered the race.
Chris Carroll covers federal politics for the Times Free Press. A Chattanooga native, he went to Red Bank High School and graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University. Chris investigated violent crime, municipal government and hospitals before taking the political beat. For tornado coverage, he and Pam Sohn won a first-place Tennessee Associated Press Managing Editors deadline reporting award. In 2010, Chris won the Golden Press Card Award of Merit and another deadline reporting ...