published Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

Host of challengers awaits Chuck Fleischmann in 2012

by Chris Carroll
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.
Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.


Qualifying deadline: April 5, 2012

Primary: Aug. 2, 2012

General: Nov. 6, 2012

Source: Hamilton County Election Commission

  • photo
    Robin Smith
    Photo by Patrick Smith.
    enlarge photo

In 1996, freshman Congressman Zach Wamp rode the Newt Gingrich wave, breezing through an uncontested Republican primary and crushing the Democratic nominee to secure a second term.

Fifteen years later, it’s a different freshman and a different story.

Nine months into U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s legislative career, Weston Wamp — Wamp’s 24-year-old son — and perennial GOP hopeful Jean Howard-Hill have announced they will challenge the incumbent. Two other prominent Republicans, J.B. Bennett and Robin Smith, are exploring similar 2012 bids against Fleischmann.

No Democrats, independents or third-party candidates have entered the race.

Smith, Fleischmann’s closest competitor in 2010, has been holding meetings in Washington, D.C., and speaking with donors who supported her last year. The former chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party said she would make a decision within three or four weeks on whether to run.

“In talking with people, there is not a desire to accept the current 3rd Congressional District slate as it is,” Smith said. “These folks believe they can do better.”

Bennett, an attorney, lobbyist and son of Hamilton County Property Assessor Bill Bennett, sent a letter to supporters that volleyed general themes of health care, the economy and education. He said he would distinguish himself from Fleischmann if he decides to run.

“I’m not satisfied,” Bennett said. “I don’t see the effective leadership that we’re used to in the 3rd District.”

Fleischmann declined to comment, but comparing his initial win with Zach Wamp’s tells part of the tale.

In 1994, Wamp capitalized on disillusionment with Democratic President Bill Clinton and carried 63 percent of the primary vote against three other Republican challengers, including Ken Meyer, then an up-and-coming state representative.

Conversely, Fleischmann won 30 percent of the 2010 GOP primary. His take barely eclipsed Smith, who split the remaining 70 percent with nine other candidates.

But if dollars indicate support, Fleischmann’s challengers could find themselves in trouble. Last week, aides said the congressman’s re-election campaign raised more than $200,000 at a two-hour event featuring House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, someone Fleischmann has voted with 95 percent of the time.

Fleischmann also has taken advantage of proximity to power. As a sitting congressman, he has accepted $25,000 from Washington, D.C.-based political action committees, along with similar amounts gleaned from PACs based in coastal cities close to Washington such as Arlington, Va., and Bethesda, Md.

A year away from Election Day, Fleischmann’s war chest holds $352,288, about one-quarter of the $1.3 million he raised to win the 2010 primary, which included $600,000 of his own money.

Fundraising information for Howard-Hill and Weston Wamp won’t be available until February.

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gertrude said...

Young Wamp at least knows how make a good video:

November 2, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.
Facts said...

Young Wamp knows how to say what his Daddy tells him to keep it all in the family & Washington influence available for Wamp's consulting firm. Make no mistake, Weston may claim his own standing but I and my business partners have all been solicited by Zach Wamp on the phone. The respect I had for Zach, the man of integrity, has been replaced by the disappointment to see a dad willing to use his son, who is very unqualified, to keep his finger in the political pie. That's the memory I'll keep of Zach Wamp.

November 2, 2011 at 2:05 p.m.
congressman said...

To all of you who have become apart of the movement to Draft Tres Wittum for Congress over the past several months, the organizers would like to extend our most sincere thanks.

This movement is about “us”, a doubted and challenged generation stepping up to the plate and taking responsibility for the future direction of our country. Draft Tres Wittum for Congress is a movement of “We the People”:... the friends, family, and colleagues who first recognized the leader among us who can articulate our message and be our spokesman: Tres Wittum. Tres is a person who boldly speaks our shared beliefs, lives by our convictions, truly loves and wants the best for our country, and has been actively working over the years defending our unalienable rights.

We understand the major challenges our nation faces but are nevertheless convinced that it’s up to us to mend our broken country and rise to new heights this country has never seen. All of us have a duty and responsibility to protect our sacred rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All of us are stepping up to the plate to create our own destiny and have a say in the future we will inherit. Now is the time for us to have a seat at the table: to make decisions which concern us and direct our government in Washington to hear our voice.

It’s about us: now 1,000 strong and counting, putting our support behind our chosen leader, Tres Wittum, urging him to step forward as the representative of this generation and our movement.

If we are the future of the "U.S."A., then it’s up to “US” to lead the way.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

November 2, 2011 at 4:28 p.m.
congressman said...

link text

Wittum got his start in politics when his beliefs were challenged on his college campus. Instead of sitting idly by he engaged the debate and got active. Classmates and the community saw him stand up and speak out, taking the fight head on. Wittum served as Chairman of the Tennessee College Republicans for two years and put together a great team of leaders who grew the organization from just 4 chapters to 18 by the end of his tenure. Wittum is also a member of Christians United for Israel and is a player in their CUFI on Campus initiative.

Wittum cares about Tennessee and seeing his generation rise to meet the challenges that have been passed down. Unlike others, he has built his own name and we admire his courage, integrity, and honor. Tres is championing the message that will return our nation to its status as a “shining city on a hill”: personal responsibility, individual freedom, and moral integrity.

November 2, 2011 at 4:29 p.m.
congressman said...

Tres Wittum is by Far the best person for the job!

November 2, 2011 at 4:31 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Weston Wamp has about as much of a chance winning the GOP nomination as Ron Littlefield getting elected to anything (even dog catcher) after his term ends.

November 2, 2011 at 11:20 p.m.
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