As the Aug. 5 primary for the 3rd Congressional District's House seat draws ever closer, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee made a stop in Chattanooga on Sunday to show his support for GOP candidate Chuck Fleischmann.
This is the second time Mr. Huckabee has spoken in Chattanooga on Mr. Fleischmann's behalf, the first being on April 28.
"I'm forever grateful and thrilled and also very, very pleased that (Mr. Huckabee) emphatically told me he thinks we're going to win this race" Mr. Fleischmann said Sunday.
Speaking at the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport for about 20 minutes, Mr. Huckabee encouraged those in attendance to spread the word throughout the 3rd District about voting for Mr. Fleischmann.
In interviews after the meeting, those in the Fleischmann camp discussed the political alignment of Mr. Huckabee and Mr. Fleischmann regarding the Second Amendment, traditional family values, a smaller government structure, lower taxes and anti-abortion issues.
These similarities are reasons voters in the 3rd District will vote for Mr. Fleischmann, said Chip Saltsman, general consultant for the Fleischmann campaign.
"I think there are a lot of similarities between Huckabee supporters and Fleischmann supporters," said Mr. Saltsman, who also managed Mr. Huckabee's 2008 presidential campaign.
Mr. Huckabee won Tennessee's 2008 GOP presidential primary race.
But the endorsements from Mr. Huckabee have led the campaign of Robin Smith, Mr. Fleischmann's main competitor for the Republican nomination, to question Mr. Fleischmann's ability to run a campaign of his own.
"It's becoming difficult to determine if Robin's opponent is Chuck Fleischmann or Mike Huckabee," said Mark Winslow, a spokesman for Mrs. Smith.
Outside of Mr. Huckabee's two Chattanooga visits, Mr. Winslow cited radio and television advertisements for Mr. Fleischmann's campaign that featured Mr. Huckabee.
"If he can't get elected on his own, how is he going to represent Tennessee in Congress on his own?" Mr. Winslow said.
Mr. Fleischmann and Mrs. Smith are among 11 Republican candidates seeking the 3rd District's House seat, which will soon be vacated by Republican gubernatorial candidate Zach Wamp. Other candidates include four Democrats and six independents.
The primary election is schedule for Aug. 5. The winners will square off in the Nov. 2 general election.
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