Club for Growth backs 2 area congressional hopefuls

Club for Growth backs 2 area congressional hopefuls

June 20th, 2010 by Larry Henry in Politics Local

Of the seven U.S. House candidates the conservative Club for Growth political action committee has endorsed this year, two are running in congressional districts in the Chattanooga area, according to the PAC's website.

One candidate, Hixson health care consultant Robin Smith, is seeking the open seat in Tennessee's 3rd District, which spans 11 counties and includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge. Eleven Republicans, four Democrats and six independents are vying to replace U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who is running for governor.

The other candidate in the area whom the Club for Growth has endorsed, U.S. Rep. Tom Graves, R-Ga., won a runoff election on June 8 in North Georgia's 15-county 9th District to fill the remainder of Nathan Deal's two-year term after he resigned in March to run for governor.

Rep. Graves, a Ranger, Ga., real estate developer who was sworn in June 14, faces four opponents in the July 20 GOP primary. Two other Republicans are on the ballot but have withdrawn from the race.

The Washington, D.C.- based Club for Growth, which advocates for lower tax rates, encourages its supporters to contribute campaign donations to the candidates it endorsers.

This spring, the PAC independently ran television ads in Georgia's 9th District race criticizing Lee Hawkins, an opponent of Rep. Graves' in the special election.

The PAC has been credited with helping to unseat U.S. Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, earlier this year and propelling a little-known Northern Nevada legislator, Sharron Angle, to victory in the Silver State's June 8 GOP primary. She will face Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the Nov. 2 general election.

Fleischmann TV ads begin Monday

Television advertising focusing on 3rd District Republican candidate Chuck Fleischmann's upbringing and faith is scheduled to begin airing Monday on network television stations in Chattanooga, according a campaign source.

The $45,000 ad buy is set to run through July 5, excluding the July 4 holiday, and will air in conjunction with a radio advertising campaign throughout the district.

In the ad, Mr. Fleischmann, a Chattanooga attorney who contributed $544,000 of his own money to his campaign through the March 31 reporting period, says, "Growing up we had very little. There was no handouts, no bailouts, no ObamaCare. We just had to work hard to survive, and that's what we need more of in this country - less government and more hard work."

The Fleischmann family attends Christway Community Church in Ooltewah and Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Chattanooga, according to campaign spokesman Jordan Powell.

Haslam leading in Rasmussen poll

Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam, a Republican, leads Democrat Mike McWherter, a Jackson beer distributor, by 50 percent to 32 percent in the Tennessee governor's race, according to a Rasmussen Reports poll.

The June 15 telephone survey of 500 likely Tennessee voters has a margin of error of 4.5 percent, according to the pollster's website. Rasmussen Reports is a national firm run by New Jersey resident Scott Rasmussen.

The survey shows two other GOP candidates, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville and U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp of Chattanooga, leading Mr. McWherter by identical 44-33 percent margins, according to the website.

The winner of the Aug. 5 GOP primary election will face Mr. McWherter, the only Democrat in the race, in the Nov. 2 general election.

During a taped interview at the Times Free Press last week, Mr. Haslam said his internal polling shows him leading Rep. Wamp by 13 percentage points and Lt. Gov. Ramsey by 22 points.

A portion of the interview is online at

Skaggs to campaign for Wamp

County music performer Ricky Skaggs is scheduled to campaign for Rep. Wamp in Chattanooga on June 28, according to a news release.

Mr. Skaggs is one of several celebrities, including John Rich and T.G. Sheppard, scheduled to campaign in different cities for Rep. Wamp.

"These fundraising events will help us stay on TV (with campaign advertising) and carry our message for an even better Tennessee to more and more voters all across the state," Rep. Wamp said in the news release.

Compiled by staff writer Larry Henry. Follow Tennessee and Georgia political news on Twitter at