By Georgiana Vines
The Knoxville News-Sentinel
KNOXVILLE - U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp said Monday night he raised another $250,000 in his campaign for the Republican nomination for governor at a fundraiser at the Knoxville home of Bill and Ginger Baxter.
Wamp said it was "an exhilarating event" in the hometown of his opponent, Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, and that Baxter, a former TVA board chairman, "had a strong backbone and courage" to host it.
"When I get to $2.5 million in the bank, they'd better watch out. I will need to raise more than that. When they see, and they will see, that I have that much money, you'll know I can win this race," Rep. Wamp said.
The Chattanooga Republican, whose district includes the DOE facilities in Oak Ridge, had announced on Feb. 9 he had raised more than $1 million. Haslam announced earlier that he raised $1.4 million at a January fundraiser in Knoxville.
Rep. Wamp also is competing against Shelby County District Attorney General Bill Gibbons for the nomination in an election that will take place in 2010. Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey has formed an exploratory committee to determine whether he, too, will run.
Rep. Wamp dismissed some speculation that he might get out of the race by the end of this month.
"I feel this calling deep in my soul. I know I'm leaving a prominent position in the Congress. I am flattered that people are saying I'm doing a good job, but that decision has already been made," Rep. Wamp said.