$135,000 raised between July 1 and Sept. 30
$445,000 raised for 2012 election cycle
Source: Office of U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann raised more than $135,000 during the last three months, a figure that could be eclipsed by a single upcoming fundraiser, his staff told the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
The Republican freshman from Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District finished the July 1-Sept. 30 fundraising quarter with $350,000 on hand for his 2012 re-election bid.
"People are showing obvious support for Chuck's voting record," said Jordan Powell, a spokesman for the congressman.
Fleischmann plans to boost his bottom line with an Oct. 27 Chattanooga fundraiser featuring House Speaker John Boehner, the face of conservative power in Washington.
Out of 769 total votes, Fleischmann has voted with House leadership 94 percent of the time, according to records maintained by the Washington Post.
The Walden Club, at the top of the Republic Centre building on Chestnut Street, will host the event. Couples must pay $1,000 to get in the door, and an extra $1,500 buys a photo opportunity with Boehner. For $10,000, couples gain admission, Boehner photos and "roundtable" seats near Fleischmann and the speaker. The campaign hopes to raise $125,000 at the invitation-only event, Powell said.
In September, a Texas fundraiser featuring Boehner cost $30,800 per person, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Fleischmann spent a record $1.3 million during last year's primary and general election, including more than $600,000 of his own money. The campaign has spent about $95,000 on re-election efforts thus far, Powell said.
Most of Fleischmann's 2012 funding is designated for the primary race, meaning the congressman could revisit GOP donors for general-election contributions if he wins the nomination.
Fleischmann's Republican challengers to date, Jean Howard-Hill and Weston Wamp, have just begun their campaigns and have either low or nonexistent fundraising numbers.
Wamp announced his candidacy Oct. 2, two days after the third fundraising quarter ended. The strategy allows him to keep his numbers under wraps and collect donations for the entire final quarter, Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
Wamp said he expects to tap business leaders of "all sectors and all ages." He expects help from those who once donated to his father, former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, who preceded Fleischmann and held the 3rd District seat for 16 years. Weston Wamp said it may take $500,000 to win the 3rd District primary.
"We'll have a direct mail component ... and a good portion of your resources have to be directed at television [advertising], which is the most proven way to effectively communicate with the masses," he said.
The younger Wamp already has incorporated at least one of his father's former strategists into the race. Davis Lundy was campaign manager for Zach Wamp's first successful race in 1994. He's now helping Weston Wamp with messaging efforts.
Howard-Hill said it takes "money to get your message out," but not necessarily to win. Her campaign includes 11 volunteers and no paid staff. She said she would collect donations large or small, including "one, two, three, four or five dollars a month," with a goal of reaching $50,000 by Jan. 1.
As of Friday, no Democrat, independent or third-party candidate had entered the race. Detailed campaign finance disclosures will be available in about a week.
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 ...