3rd District candidates
Geoffery Suhmer Smith
George Ryan Love
14th District candidates
Nine people are running for Congress in Southeast Tennessee's 3rd District, but only one is also a congressional candidate in a neighboring state.
It's all part of Allan Levene's urgent plan. He must be elected to Congress in 2016, he says. He's the only one who can keep the U.S. economy from collapsing. By 2018, it will be too late.
So he qualified for the Republican primaries in the 3rd Congressional District in Tennessee, opposite incumbent Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Chattanooga, and in Georgia's 14th District, whose incumbent is Republican Tom Graves, of Ranger, Ga.
Levene doesn't live in either district — he lives in Kennesaw, Ga. His district campaign headquarters consist of mailboxes at UPS stores in Rome, Ga., and on Signal Mountain Road.
He's apparently the first congressional candidate in history to figure out he can run anywhere he can get on the ballot — federal law says he only has to live in the district if he's elected.
So he's going to try any way he can to get elected, Levene said in an interview Friday.
"Running in multiple states is not a gimmick, it's a means to an end," he said. "You can only fix problems if you have a vote — if you don't have a vote, you're just noise."
And he says it's crucial, life or death for the Republic, that he get into office so he can stop the economic collapse he sees looming.
"This country is falling apart, and it is so easy to fix," said Levene, 66, a British native and naturalized citizen who is passionate about the freedom and opportunity in his adopted country but says wrongheaded government is bringing the nation down.
In Levene's view, the decline in the nation's manufacturing might foreshadow a loss of global power and prestige, mostly to China. All it would take to fix, he says, would be removing taxes from goods manufactured in the U.S.A.
"It will create an enormous flood of jobs and money and we'll beat China at its own game," he said.
He's actually scaled down his ambitions compared to 2014, when he tried to run in Minnesota, Michigan and Hawaii in addition to challenging Georgia U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey in the 11th District. Politico magazine profiled him in a story called "The Supercandidate," but Levene couldn't get on the ballot in Michigan, dropped out in Minnesota and lost in the primaries in Hawaii and Georgia.
His strategy this time is built around the dates of the primaries. Georgia's is May 24 and there's no Democrat running, so if he wins, Levene is in. If not, he's got another shot in the Aug. 7 Tennessee primary.
Political parties usually stay neutral in primaries, but Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes isn't warm toward Levene's candidacy.
"While it's not against the law to qualify, our preference is that Tennesseans represent Tennesseans and that individuals from other states should only run for office in those states. Representation in the United States Congress is too important for this type of political gamesmanship," Haynes said in an emailed statement Friday.
Undeterred, Levene thinks he'll be helped by the anti-incumbent, throw-the-bums-out mood of the electorate this year.
He hopes so, he says. It's the last chance for him, and the nation.
"I have nothing to lose by having a big mouth and sounding the alarm," he said.
Contact staff writer Judy Walton at email@example.com or 423-757-6416.