Chattanooga attorney Chuck Fleischmann, a candidate for the open 3rd Congressional District seat, began airing a television ad this weekend criticizing GOP rival Robin Smith's management of funds when she was chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party.
The Chattanooga Times Free Press reported Friday that some Republicans say the state party had a bank overdraft of $19,090 in unrestricted funds on her last official day at the party in 2009. Her campaign spokesman, Mark Winslow, accused the Fleischmann campaign of spreading a "false allegation."
The ad shows black-and-white photographs of Mrs. Smith and calls news of the alleged shortfall "shocking." It also accuses her of having "a failed record of busting budgets."
On Thursday, before the ad began airing, Mr. Winslow said he expected attacks from Mr. Fleischmann, who has contributed $601,025 of his own money to the campaign. Mrs. Smith, a Hixson health care consultant, has not contributed any of her own money to the race.
"We expect him to unleash a flood of ads, perhaps negative, in his effort to erase Robin's 20-year head start in proving herself the authentic conservative in the 3rd District," Mr. Winslow said.
The ad is airing on the Fox News cable channel throughout the district and on network stations in the Chattanooga and Knoxville markets, said Mr. Fleischmann's campaign consultant, Chip Saltsman.
Mr. Saltsman said the campaign will alternate the ad, for an undetermined period, with the endorsement spot featuring Fox News weekend host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee that has been airing in the district.
Eleven Republicans, four Democrats and six independents are running in the 11-county 3rd District to replace U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, who is running for governor.
SMITH RELEASES NEW AD, ATTACKS 'DEBT'
Focusing on the amount of taxpayer money being spent by President Obama and Congress, a new ad by 3rd Congressional District Republican candidate Robin Smith entitled "Debt" targets increased government spending and federal debt.
Her campaign said that while trial lawyer Chuck Fleischmann floods the airwaves with misleading negative commercials and relies upon failed former candidates to make his case, Mrs. Smith is articulating a clear vision of the direction America should take toward fiscal responsibility and job creation.
In the ad Mrs. Smith says: "$117,000. That's every taxpayer's share of the national debt. And President Obama projects $9 trillion more in debt in just 10 years. We cannot let him do it. ... Let's cut spending. Let's ban all earmarks, and let's repeal ObamaCareo before it gets started."
DAVIS AMASSES WAR CHEST
U.S. Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., has $470,805 in cash on hand going into the final weeks of the Aug. 5 primary campaign, according to the Federal Election Commission website.
The Fentress County resident, who represents the sprawling 4th Congressional District west of Chattanooga, raised $177,370 from donors in the second-quarter reporting period ending June 30, bringing his total raised to $798,635. He has not contributed any of his own money on the campaign, the website shows.
Campaign contribution reports for the second quarter of 2010 were due to the FEC on Thursday.
Five Republicans, one Democrat and three independents are vying to unseat Rep. Davis, who is affiliated with the Blue Dog Coalition of moderate Democrats in Congress. He also owns a construction business in the district.
Fundraising totals for his Democratic opponent, Gerald York, were not on the FEC website by Friday night.
Of the Republicans running for the seat, Jack Bailey, a Franklin, Tenn., businessman, has $112,522 in cash on hand, while Jasper, Tenn., doctor Scott DesJarlais has $88,258 in the bank.
The winners from each party will square off in the Nov. 2 general election.
SETPAC ENDORSES Wamp
The Southeast Tennessee Political Action Committee has endorsed U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., in this year's governor's race, according to a news release from the organization.
Rep. Wamp is running in the Aug. 5 GOP primary election against Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville. The winner will face Democrat Mike McWherter in the Nov. 2 general election.
For a full list of SETPAC endorsements, visit the group's website at www.setpac.com.
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