On Monday, Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Van Irion spoke to the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club.

"Do you remember any times in your lives where the government got smaller?" he asked. "We're losing this war to the liberals. If you take a step back, we're losing because we compromise."

Mr. Irion, running in the GOP primary for the seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, said the controversial Arizona immigration law changed nothing, and that the U.S. Supreme Court's interpretation of the "commerce clause" "destroyed our constitution."

"For some reason, God gave me the gift to explain this stuff," he said.

The Pachyderm Club has featured other speakers in the crowded 3rd District Race. The other Republican candidates are Tommy Crangle, Chuck Fleischmann, Tim Gobble, Harvey Howard, Jean Howard-Hill, Rick Kernea, Basil Marceaux Sr., Art Rhodes, Robin Smith and Grover Travillian.


The Fleischmann campaign announced this week it is kicking off a listening tour with a two-day canvass of every county in the 3rd District.

"Chuck will be holding meet-and-greets with voters all over the district, and looks forward to answering their questions and sharing his vision for smaller government," a campaign press release states.


The conservative Web site calls 3rd District candidate Robin Smith an "Iron Lady."

"The Republican Establishment is declaring this their year of the woman," writer Erick Erickson said. "There are five in particular that I want to aggressively support: Nikki Haley running for governor in South Carolina, Karen Handel running for governor in Georgia, Sharron Angle running for the Senate in Nevada, Robin Smith running for Congress in Tennessee, and Pamela Gorman running for Congress in Arizona."

UT coach endorses Haslam

University of Tennessee men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl leaped from the sports to the political arena to endorse Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam's Republican bid for governor.

Mr. Pearl joined Mr. Haslam at a Sevier County political event and discussed the role of leadership during difficult times.

"I talk about raising expectations, focusing on positives and building confidence," he said, according to a Haslam campaign release. "I talk about work ethic. I talk about ethics. It's all about leadership.

"Anybody can sail the ship when seas are calm and everything is favorable. ... You've got to prepare people for the worst times."

Mr. Pearl recently completed his fifth season as UT's basketball coach, leading the Vols to a 126-46 record.

Mr. Haslam said Mr. Pearl "made an immediate impact" on UT's basketball program and the Knoxville community.

The coach's "ability to communicate is unparalleled, and I look forward to and am thankful for his help as the campaign progresses," the mayor said.

Also running in the Aug. 5 GOP primary are U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

McCormick receives Medallion Award

State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga, who sponsored legislation that makes it easier for military personnel serving in combat zones to vote, is scheduled to receive the Medallion Award from Secretary of State Tré Hargett on Monday.

Mr. Hargett will present the award during a meeting of the Hamilton County Pachyderm Club.

Rep. McCormick was the primary House sponsor of a bill, approved by the General Assembly this year, which allows military personnel to cast ballots via fax or similar electronic means while they are serving on active duty in combat zones.

Rep. McCormick is a U.S. Army veteran of the first Gulf War.

Compiled by staff writer Dan Whisenhunt,