In the same letter calling his political opponents “hired guns,” U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann asked supporters for campaign money so he’ll be “prepared to fight back.”
The letter surfaced on the heels of an outdoor protest against the freshman Republican and shows the campaign is thinking about re-election — something Fleischmann’s staff said it wasn’t doing over the summer.
Fleischmann’s main fundraising organization emailed the letter to an undisclosed list of supporters. The Times Free Press obtained a copy.
In the first paragraph, Fleischmann mentions his recent series of 16 town hall meetings in Southeast Tennessee’s 3rd District, including eight in the Chattanooga area. He describes his critics as “far left” and predicts future opposition and protests.
“That’s why I need your help now,” the letter states. “Please make an immediate online contribution to my re-election campaign.”
In a statement, Jordan Powell, Fleischmann’s spokesman, sidestepped the question of whether the congressman was actually focused on his re-election over the summer despite saying he wasn’t.
“As we’ve already said, Chuck’s No. 1 goal continues to be getting our fiscal house in order and cleaning up the mess created by Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid,” Powell said in an email “His response to false attacks by pro-Obama, union groups is just a part of the overall process.”
The letter juxtaposes two unrelated events, saying members of Chattanooga Organized for Action and the Service Employees International Union went to his town hall meetings “to shout and wave signs and act more like children than responsible adults.”
A photograph with the letter shows an unidentified protester dressed in a business suit and horror mask, but the photograph was plucked from an Aug. 24 anti-Fleischmann event sponsored by Chattanooga Organized for Action, the group that also is behind recall efforts against Mayor Ron Littlefield.
Chattanooga Organized for Action members attended three town halls, but no one wore a costume. Some handed out flyers criticizing Fleischmann’s voting record. There was no shouting.
Joda Thongnopnua, a spokesman for Chattanooga Organized for Action, characterized Fleischmann’s letter as “a cynical attempt to fill his campaign war chest.”
Federal Election Commission records show Fleischmann has $261,470 on hand for 2012.
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 ...