published Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

24-year-old Weston Wamp says his youth is an asset in run for Congress

by Chris Carroll
Weston Wamp
Contributed photo
Weston Wamp Contributed photo
Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Can a 25-year-old can be an effective congressional candidate?

Day Two of Weston Wamp's primary campaign against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann put the challenger on the defensive as local Republicans and Democrats asked why a 24-year-old former congressman's son should get their votes.

"People want to judge our new leaders on their skills and merits rather than their family names," Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith said Monday. "He's a very young person and has no past experience."

Wamp, the Republican son of former eight-term U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, announced in Sunday's Chattanooga Times Free Press that he is running for his father's old seat, which he gave up to run an unsuccessful campaign for governor last year.

The younger Wamp has downplayed his family connections and attempted to turn his youth into a campaign asset, portraying himself as a rank-and-file member of the "debt-paying generation."

"When the framers of the Constitution said you can serve in Congress beginning at 25, they knew the guys at 25 wouldn't have a decade of business experience," he said. "There are strengths that come with being young and innovative."

Wamp operates Wamp Strategy, a Chattanooga-based public relations firm he founded last December, 19 months after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a communications degree.

While Hamilton County Republican Party Chairman Marty Von Schaaf said party leadership "cannot take sides" in a contested primary, Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West characterized Fleischmann's job performance as "adequate," adding that the organization hasn't agreed on whether to endorse him for a second term.

Wamp's Campaign Announcement
Wamp's Campaign Announcement

But West indicated he's far from committing to Wamp.

"What other 24-year-old announcing that he's running for Congress would get the kind of attention that Mr. Wamp has received?" West asked. "Would we consider Weston Wamp to lead BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee?"

Wamp said he isn't looking for an executive position.

"I'm not even claiming to have enough experience to be the mayor of Chattanooga because I'm asking to be their representative in Congress from this area," he said. "The things that make a strong representative are different than the things required to be a great executive."

Asked for specifics last week, Wamp said, "There will be a time when I come out with a fuller platform."

Robin Smith, the health care consultant, former state GOP chairwoman and Wamp family friend who barely lost the 2010 Republican primary to Fleischmann, said Wamp's announcement does not affect her as-of-now unannounced plans for the 2012 elections.

"In a political environment where money is key, a lot of people spend a lot of capital to drive up name recognition, and [Wamp] will not have to do that," she said.

In a written statement, Fleischmann, 48, said he welcomes a primary battle between himself and the son of his predecessor.

"There will be a time and a place for campaigning next year when the season is upon us," he said.

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

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.

This is an early April Fools joke, right?

October 4, 2011 at 6:42 a.m.
timbo said...

To Chris Carroll.... Are you owned by the Wamps? What in the heck did you write two stories on this arrogant boy? I know, Chattanooga royalty must be honored. "To give the news without fear of FAVOR" What a joke.

October 4, 2011 at 7:27 a.m.
dao1980 said...

He sure has the "bro-smile" all practiced up.

I would bet tight pink polo's with popped collars and a frat pack mentality are in this fella's immediate past.

Maybe the term "you go no cred bra" would be appropriate here.

October 4, 2011 at 7:33 a.m.
328Kwebsite said...

The reality is that the local GOP is out of ideas, low on plans, and incapable of providing genuine leadership for the future. Look at who they are sending us: the country club rich, lobbyists, and now a second generation of the name game. We do not need to be the feeding grounds for another career politician who wants to exploit our city.

Young Mister Wamp would take care to realize that when this country was founded, 25 years old was middle aged. In 1700 the life expectancy was 37. Within that century it rose to 41. The 25 year old age limit set in the 1700s does not imply a favoring of youth for political office.

We're up to 78 years now. 52 years old would be closer to the rate set in the 1700s. Wamp's own citations show that he is at least half as young as he needs to be. Nevermind that we see a complete absence of experience or education that looks like it's capable of contributing to sound policymaking and leadership. Even a casual look at this situation shows that Wamp is missing everything important.

If you want to understand just how destructive a complete lack of leadership in policy is, look at Senator Corker's exploitation of city real estate and traffic patterns to raise money for his Senate campaign. Look at Mayor Ron Littlefield's entire administration's daily existence. Look at Mayor Jon Kinsey's obsession over taking over of the water company.

Look at Zack Wamp's own cozying up to "The Family", a group of religious nutballs who paid him off so well they financed the very bed he slept in when he was in Washington.

We have had zero luck with Republicans who thought they could get elected on the basis of their Polo shirts.

Our country has had enough Dubyas for a long time. Try something else.

October 4, 2011 at 7:34 a.m.
sixfour said...


How in any way is this article favorable toward Weston Wamp? Carroll did his job. Why WOULDN'T you talk to local GOP/Democratic power players the day after the congressman's kid announced he's running for Congress? (Plus, they are all doubters!)

Reread the article and/or crawl back into your hole.

October 4, 2011 at 8:55 a.m.
sangaree said...

All I gots to say is, That Wamp Jr. boy show is purdee!! 'Nuf said.

October 4, 2011 at 9:08 a.m.
PatFinnegan said...

328Kwebsite, one of a long list of cowards on this site who post comments without having the stones to put their names on them, says that the Republicans are sending us Weston Wamp?! Where did you get that information from? Do you really think that the local GOP pursued this kid, or is it just a case of a rich kid with a famous name and more money than he knows what to do with? Think before you comment.

October 4, 2011 at 9:10 a.m.
umadbro said...

"a rank-and-file member of the "debt-paying generation." Yeah I'm sooo sure this poor downtrodden guy has had it real bad!

"communications degree" Just what we need... another smooth talker in Washington.

"There will be a time when I come out with a fuller platform." Guess you need to see who wants to give you money or what opinions are popular before you decide what YOU believe in.

Seems to me that if you are going to be a career politician you would probably want to start young.

October 4, 2011 at 10:05 a.m.

I hate to break it to Weston, but kids quit being kids much earlier in when the age restrictions set. 12 year olds were expected to act and work like their adult counterparts. They were treated differently and by the time they were 25, they were more mature. By the time they were 25, they already had a family, a career and experience.

October 4, 2011 at 10:13 a.m.
umadbro said...

Re: PatFinnegan... I would never use my real name or give out personal info on a forum like this. For instance... someone could easily complain to your workplace about an employee posting in some online forum during work hours. You might receive phone calls and other unwanted distractions at work. You know... stuff like that. For you to criticize someones use of anonymity is silly. Also... I mean.. It lists your employer and wife's name and everything. Just sayin'

October 4, 2011 at 10:42 a.m.
Facts said...

A few comments: If Mark West & my local Tea Party were to endorse either Chuck Flieschmann or Weston Wamp, there will be no Tea Party in Chattanooga. "Adequate" doesn't sit in the lap of John Boehner as Chuck has. I question your leadership, now, Mr. West.

Then this quote: "There will be a time when I come out with a fuller platform"...maybe Chuck will share his script hot off the presses that a DC consultant obviously wrote for a lost man who has no core beliefs or ability to lead.

We don't need any candidates who have lived life with their political daddies and dynasties or any other joke who has never articulated a position without a puppet master or seeking center stage. These party officials would do us all a favor if they'd tell some of these jokes to move along.

October 4, 2011 at 1:13 p.m.
gertrude said...

Yeah they set the 25 year limit awhile ago...let's go ahead and update that, the drinking age, and the voting age while we're at it.


October 4, 2011 at 2:01 p.m.

I see the liberal attack dogs have been unleashed.

October 4, 2011 at 2:43 p.m.
328Kwebsite said...

I don't argue with individual posters who try to distract from the issue by insulting me personally. The topic at hand is Weston Wamp's run for Congress.

I can see why local Republicans would not want us to pay attention to the idea that we're expected to be the "starter" district for a 24-year-old wannabe career politician.

You're not a politician until you lose an election. Guess who's getting an early start.

If the Republican party would like to deny any affiliation with Weston Wamp, we're waiting to see that happen. It's obvious: they'll claim every person who runs under their label. Can anyone cite a single instance when they have rejected a candidate's affiliation?

The reality is that this is a poorly thought out decision.

One of the unspoken questions here is why is the son running instead of the father? Maybe affiliations and payments in kind from The Family made Representative Wamp think twice about running again. He was on the edge of being embroiled in a scandal.

Why isn't Representative Zach Wamp running?

Did he rack up too much indebtedness with his failed attempt at the governorship? Candidates don't run, lose the race, and then walk away debt free, do they? How much of this is about all that?

Want to find out what Chattanooga's politicos are up to, follow the money. If the son is running for Congress, then what's the father up to?

October 4, 2011 at 2:55 p.m.
timbo said...

Sixfour.... Right now I am out of my hole. I said two stories, both were semi positive and both were free advertisement. For a 24 year-old child to get a sentence, much less 2 stories on consecutive days, to give his ridiculous "explanations" looks fishy to me. By the way, this ain't my first rodeo. I know the special relationship between reporters and politicians. This looks funny.

Now, I will go back in my hole

October 4, 2011 at 3:11 p.m.
chattcitizen said...

Breaking News! My dog will be running as well. He's a 4 year old lab. 4 makes him older than weston in human years. He's smart, dependable, honest, and fiscally responsible. Even when he's off his leash he behaves.

WTF people, Weston Wamp, really? This kid is terrible. Have any of you ever tried to have a conversation with him? It's painful to say the least. He may literally be a robot.

October 4, 2011 at 3:19 p.m.
sd said...

"Wamp operates Wamp Strategy, a Chattanooga-based public relations firm he founded last December, 19 months after graduating from the University of Tennessee with a communications degree."

Nice shell.

Has he held any other jobs? Does he have any type of actual work experience?

October 4, 2011 at 5:53 p.m.
MasterChefLen said...

Weston Wamp is a Dan Quale in the making.

October 4, 2011 at 6:44 p.m.
ConservMD said...

@328Kwebsite "The 25 year old age limit set in the 1700s does not imply a favoring of youth for political office. ... We're up to 78 years now. 52 years old would be closer to the rate set in the 1700s. Wamp's own citations show that he is at least half as young as he needs to be."

So I take it that you've never heard of an amendment? If 200+ years worth of congressmen thought that 25 years old was too young to vote based on average life expectancy and age when one develps maturity or an established career, wouldn't they have felt that it was in the country's best interest to pass an amendment changing the age limit?

Obviously, they haven't, and many would argue for good reason. In the times that I met Mr. Wamp at governor campaign events compared to the times where I've heard Fleischmann speak, I feel that Wamp has more of a backbone to stand up for the interests of the 3rd district than our incumbent.

October 4, 2011 at 8:02 p.m.
NoMyth said...

Wamp Junior even considering a run for elected office is beyond the pale and shows what a sheltered and out of touch existence he leads. This is off-the-charts arrogance that results from bad parenting and living a life of privilege. The thought of someone with a silver spoon and not a single accomplishment in life acting as a government representative should make every American's blood boil. Only a fool would support this candidate.

October 4, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.
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