published Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

Chattanooga man John Wolfe running for president in New Hampshire


by Chris Carroll
John Wolfe’s name will be on the ballot for New Hampshire’s presidential primary election on Jan. 10.
John Wolfe’s name will be on the ballot for New Hampshire’s presidential primary election on Jan. 10.
Photo by Jake Daniels /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
How to qualify for New Hampshire's presidential primary
  • • Meet U.S. Constitution's requirements: Resident of United States for 14 years and 35 years of age
  • • Be a registered Republican or Democrat
  • • Pay $1,000

Source: New Hampshire Department of State

WOLFE'S TRACK RECORD
  • 1998 -- Loses Democratic primary for Congress in Tennessee's 3rd District
  • 2001 -- Loses mayoral race to Bob Corker, gets 2.8 percent of the vote
  • 2002 -- Loses race against then-U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp in 3rd District, gets 34 percent of vote as Democratic nominee
  • 2004 -- Gets 33 percent of vote as Democratic nominee against Wamp
  • 2007 -- Loses special state Senate election, fails to file campaign finance disclosure
  • 2008 -- Fined $10,000 by the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign finance; penalty still unpaid today
  • 2010 -- Gets 28 percent of vote as Democratic nominee against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in 3rd District
  • 2011 -- Announces run for president

Source: State documents, newspaper archives

Poll
Who should be the Democratic nominee for president?

John Wolfe cannot qualify for any Tennessee state or local office until he pays a 3-year-old $10,000 civil penalty, but he's still doing what any registered Democrat with $1,000 can do -- run for president in New Hampshire.

The loser of six federal, state and local elections since 1998, Wolfe's name will be on the ballot for New Hampshire's presidential primary election on Jan. 10.

He's accompanied by 30 Republicans and 14 other Democrats, including President Barack Obama.

According to a campaign news release, Wolfe wants support from "millions of Americans" who aren't satisfied with Obama's presidency but won't be voting Republican either.

In a phone interview Monday, Wolfe identified himself as a true progressive and called the president "a creature of Wall Street," naming several White House advisors who previously worked in the financial sector.

"The epicenter of the financial crisis is right there in the Oval Office," Wolfe said.

"I want to raise awareness -- people can decide at the ballot box whether I have a shot," said Wolfe, whose official campaign phone number goes to his personal cell phone. "That will be their decision. Obviously the odds are long. I won't deny that."

Many states with presidential primaries require numerous filing fees and petition signatures. Others let party leaders determine the list of candidates.

Wolfe's $10,000 state fine stems from his unsuccessful state Senate seat bid in 2007. Interviews and documents show Wolfe, an attorney, never filed a fourth-quarter campaign finance disclosure report with state officials as required by law.

"The penalty remains unpaid, and Mr. Wolfe is therefore barred ... from qualifying for election in any Tennessee state or local office until such time as he pays it," said John B. Allyn, counsel for the Tennessee Bureau of Ethics and Campaign Finance.

Wolfe at first declined to discuss the situation, but later called the fine "my fault." He did not say when he would pay it.

"It involved the campaign's negligence in recordkeeping, not dishonesty," Wolfe said.

The $10,000 fine gains further significance when aligned with one of Wolfe's presidential ads, which challenges fellow candidate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to a debate: "Dear Newt, $10,000 says you're wrong about the Palestinians," a reference to Gingrich's assertion that the Palestinians are an "invented people."

The state penalty does not appear to restrict Wolfe from running in federal elections, as evidenced by his current presidential bid and his run in last year's congressional election, when he received 28 percent of the vote as the Democratic nominee for Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., won that race, doubling Wolfe's vote totals in the process.

Wolfe said he hasn't been successful here because Chattanooga represents "the red buckle of the Bible belt."

"What Democrat could have done any better? The best cactus seed ain't gonna sprout in the tundra," he said with a laugh. "Maybe I wasn't the best [Democratic] candidate in the world, but we don't know because nobody else tried that hard."

Contact staff writer Chris Carroll at ccarroll@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6610.

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cannonball said...

10,000 bucks and he is still walking around? Must have a ankle bracelet on. My car was towed over a $5.00 parking fine. The times they are a changing.

December 20, 2011 at 7:17 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Who is the bigger NUT JOB, Ron Paul or John Wolfe

December 20, 2011 at 11:10 a.m.
Salsa said...

He has to run for office someplace where they don't know him.

December 20, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.
John_Proctor said...

Don Quixote had to go to New Hampshire to find new windmills to fight.

December 20, 2011 at 1:25 p.m.
lookinfour said...

This story makes me laugh. Poor John. He needs some therapy, bad.

December 20, 2011 at 6:42 p.m.
chizables said...

Say what you want, but John Wolfe, unlike Obama, is a true Democrat. He is not bought and paid for by Wall Street. He would not cave in to the Tea Party's extreme right wing demands. He would not send drones to kill innocent civilians. He would not compromise away Medicare and Social Security to the Republicans. He would not cut government assistance in the form of Home Heating Oil Assistance to the poorest of our poor. Obama has done all of these. John Wolfe would represent the middle class and not the giant corporations and billionaires who can never get enough.

December 20, 2011 at 6:43 p.m.
Marathon5454 said...

So....Wolfe didn't pay his $10,000 fine and nothing happens to him----The rules that apply to us don't apply to police or lawyers

December 20, 2011 at 8:40 p.m.
lookinfour said...

chizable...what about the 10k dollars. You never mentioned that. Is not paying your bills a true Democrat as well. If Mr. Wolfe has his act together why would he enter a presidential election without satisfying his previous campaign debts? Before he ever thought of getting in another race he should have taken care of this. I may have joked earlier about Mr. Wolfe needing therapy, but I really think he may. Something just isn't right with this guy. We've all heard of career politicians, Mr. Wolfe is a career candidate.

December 20, 2011 at 10:33 p.m.
chizables said...

Like I said: Say what you want, but John Wolfe, unlike Obama, is a true Democrat. He is not bought and paid for by Wall Street. He would not cave in to the Tea Party's extreme right wing demands. He would not send drones to kill innocent civilians. He would not compromise away Medicare and Social Security to the Republicans. He would not cut government assistance in the form of Home Heating Oil Assistance to the poorest of our poor. Obama has done all of these. John Wolfe would represent the middle class and not the giant corporations and billionaires who can never get enough.

One would think this article was supposed to be about Mr. Wolfe running for president in New Hampshire, but it is mostly about the 10k fine (which was a fine and not a campaign debt, as one commenter has said).

The biased article in the newspaper should have been on the editorial page - the right side.

All the article did was bash Mr. Wolfe, not giving much space at all the the real issues he stands for.

I must say it was quite a bizarre article; but, then, I am not surprised, considering the source.

December 20, 2011 at 11:46 p.m.
lookinfour said...

Chizables, the fine was against the Wolfe campaign. The Wolfe campaign has not paid the fine therefore it is a Wolfe campaign debt. It is John Wolfes debt.

As far as his stance on issues I won't listen until he does the right thing and clears up the last election he lost.

December 21, 2011 at 11:20 a.m.
susanika said...

Fortunately I saw the presidential debate at St. Anselms in New Hampshire this week and Mr. Wolfe stood well above the other candidates in his ability to address real issues that affect America today. So when I read this article I was alarmed and checked into it further and realized there was more to the story than the reporter wanted to report. I'd say a little biased and lots of folks jumped on it afterall he is attorney so he must be crooked.....? I was happy to see that the newspaper poll showed his popularity higher than Obama's and that there is a searchable link showing his endorsement by this newspaper in 2010.

December 23, 2011 at 11:25 p.m.
susanika said...

By the way, John Wolfe is the most appoachable person to talk to so if you ever have any questions, just approach him directly, His website is johnwolfeforamerica.com

December 23, 2011 at 11:28 p.m.
holdout said...

What police officer didn't pay what fine? Tell us the story.

January 3, 2012 at 1:45 p.m.
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