As an incumbent Republican with a 10-to-1 money advantage, Chuck Fleischmann strolled into a second term in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.
Fleischmann, 50, a Chattanooga attorney, took 61 percent percent of the vote against Democrat Mary Headrick, a Maynardville acute-care physician.
"It's a tremendous win for us tonight," Fleischmann said in a telephone call from his victory party at Chattanooga's DoubleTree hotel. "We're very thankful that my message of fiscal and social conservatism has been accepted well in the new 3rd District."
He congratulated Headrick for "running a strong, principled race, a clean race," and said he hopes she and her supporters "will join me in helping to move the 3rd District forward."
Campaigning in a reliably Republican district whose GOP strength was pumped up even more in legislative redistricting last year, Fleischmann emphasized his conservative first-term record and his support for smaller, leaner government and unleashing business to create jobs.
Headrick's call for higher taxes on the wealthy and support for President Barack Obama's health care reform bill found far fewer friends.
Fleischmann also had a crushing money advantage -- Federal Election Commission figures show he raised $1.3 million compared with $110,000 for Headrick.
But Tuesday night, Headrick said she ran the campaign she wanted to run.
"I intended to run a $100,000 race, and that's what I did. I don't think it should cost more than that," she said. "I'm disappointed it wasn't a more vigorous race on the issues. I don't want money to run our government and our institutions."
Fleisch-mann will be sworn in when Congress convenes in January and will be paid $174,000 a year. The 3rd District touches 11 East Tennessee counties and includes Chattanooga and Oak Ridge.
As in Fleischmann's first campaign in 2010, the Republican primary was the real race.
In 2010, he won the primary with 30 percent of the vote in a field of 11 that included former Hamilton County and state GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith. In the general election, Fleischmann took 57 percent of the vote against Democrat John Wolfe.
The primary field this year was smaller but more high-profile. Fleischmann fended off Mayfield Dairy executive Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp, whose father, Zach Wamp, retired after 16 years in the U.S. House, leaving the 3rd District seat open.
Vote totals, which include federally mandated provisional ballots, are unofficial until certified by the Tennessee Division of Elections.
Contact staff writer Judy Walton at jwalton@times freepress.com or 423-757-6416.
Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...