published Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

3rd District ads begin airing today


by Chris Carroll
  • photo
    Weston Wamp and Chuck Fleischmann.
    Staff File Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press

Poll
Who do you now support for Tennessee's 3rd district?

Your satellite dish might get hundreds of cable channels -- or maybe you're content with ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC.

Either way, get ready for the blitz -- two 3rd Congressional District candidates plan to inhabit your TV starting this week.

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann plans to hit districtwide airwaves today with radio and television advertisements that tell a humble-beginnings tale as he attempts to beat six challengers for his seat.

One of those challengers, 25-year-old Weston Wamp, said he'll begin "a very positive media campaign" Thursday with a week of network and cable television ads. Like Fleischmann, he plans to reach all 11 counties in the 3rd District, which includes the Knoxville and Chattanooga media markets.

Advisers for both men said they have enough campaign cash to run more ads up to the Aug. 2 primary.

Wamp declined to discuss the specifics of his 30-second ads, except to say they will air on CNN and Fox News and explore "the core meaning of what our country's all about."

He said Fleischmann isn't mentioned.

"It's bigger than a corny political advertisement," Wamp said. "I think people who aren't even political will like it. You can watch it a few times and come away with a few different things."

Fleischmann's 30-second television spot is purely biographical, a strategy that allows the congressman to reintroduce himself to voters, his advisers said.

Over somber piano music, the ad features an interview with the congressman's elderly father, packing several childhood-era photographs and focusing on when Fleischmann was 13 -- the year his mother died of cancer.

"We didn't grow up with much," Fleischmann says, "but both my parents taught me early if you work hard and do the right thing, you can achieve the American dream."

The television ad makes no mention of Fleischmann's record in Congress, but an unnamed narrator on the radio version describes him as a "constitutional conservative," "a rock-solid Republican" and "one of us."

Fleischmann is an attorney who contributed more than $600,000 to his own campaign in 2010.

A spokesman for GOP challenger Scottie Mayfield did not return a request for comment.

With $935 in the bank as of March 31, Ron Bhalla, one of Fleischmann's Republican challengers, does not appear to have enough money to buy ads, and the Democrats seeking that party's nomination, Mary Headrick and Bill Taylor, have said they're not considering television ads at this point.

Matthew Deniston, an independent candidate, has not announced advertising plans.

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