NASHVILLE- U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., and his GOP primary challenger Weston Wamp this month jerked out their campaign wallets and and began showering the 3rd Congressional District with hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising and other spending as their bitter rivalry headed into early voting, records show.
Fleischmann slightly outspent Wamp $416,861 to $362,954 as they jumped on television, hit small-town radio stations and made other expenditures from July 1 through July 18, according to their pre-primary disclosures filed over the weekend with the Federal Election Commission.
But the reports show Fleischmann dominating the television and radio "air wars" in the days leading up to early voting, which began July 18 for the Aug. 7 primary elections.
The two-term incumbent spent some $348,000 with a media ad placement firm as he began pounding the son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is making his second bid, in the Chattanooga and Knoxville markets.
By comparison, Wamp spent $145,600 on his media, his disclosure shows.
As of July 18, the congressman from Ooltewah's campaign was in a better position financially than Wamp to keep up the pace. Fleischmann reported $348,260 in cash on hand, although he does have $211,807 in debts and obligations.
Wamp reported $83,161 in cash on hand. He reported net contributions of $20,317 from July 1 to July 18. Fleischmann reported $62,627.
But in a new FEC report dated Sunday, Fleischmann disclosed he has since received almost $50,000 more in contributions.
Still, Wamp is getting help from an independent "Super" PAC, Character Counts, which spent $111,000 on advertising and related costs. The group is funded by Chattanoogan Allan Davis, a partner at Lamp Post Group - a company Wamp helped found.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.