WASHINGTON — Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., is touting a poll of Republicans in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd congressional districts of Tennessee that shows him as a favorite to win the GOP nomination in the 2010 gubernatorial race.
The poll, conducted by The Tarrance Group, found Rep. Wamp with 48 percent support, compared to 20 percent for Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.
It also found him with a more favorable rating (56 percent) than Mr. Haslam (28 percent).
The poll of 500 registered Republican primary voters conducted Dec. 14-15, does not mention former Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist, who is also considering a gubernatorial run.
“As the Republican GOP electorate looks ahead to the 2010 gubernatorial race, it is clear that Representative Zach Wamp is the strong favorite to win the GOP nomination in the most critical region of the state,” The Tarrance Group wrote in a memo.
The three districts included in the poll comprised 56 percent of the vote in the last nonpresidential Republican primary, the poll stated.
Rep. Wamp has said he plans to run for governor if Dr. Frist decides not to.
DAVIS DEFENDS AUTOMAKER AID
Rep. Lincoln Davis, D-Tenn., who voted in favor of an auto industry bailout before it was derailed in the Senate, poo-poohed criticism of the package, saying if Congress can find $700 billion to rescue Wall Street financial firms, the auto industry also deserves a lifeline.
“One argument being made against assistance says the Big Three have too much debt on the books to be viable in the long-term,” he wrote in a column distributed to Tennessee media. “Interestingly, it’s the politicians and partisans who supported handing out $700 billion to corporations, who retain the majority of our nation’s debt, who are making this argument.”
He said the auto industry is vital to the country. The White House announced Friday it would provide aid to the automakers via the Wall Street rescue plan.
“The sheer number of hard-working Americans that would be unemployed as a result of its collapse is not only staggering, it’s unacceptable,” Rep. Davis wrote.
THUMBS UP GIVEN TO CABINET CHOICE
Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., praised President-elect Barack Obama’s selection of Arne Duncan as education secretary.
“The choice of Arne Duncan is a signal that President-elect Obama understands that parents and state and local leadership, not Washington D.C., are the primary source of school quality,” said Sen. Alexander, a former education secretary himself.
He said he plans to discuss with Mr. Duncan how to boost student achievement and remove “meddlesome federal regulations and reporting requirements which drive up costs and reduce the quality of higher education.”
Mr. Duncan is the current head of Chicago Public Schools.
WAMP TACKLES EARMARK REFORM
Rep. Wamp has been chosen by his Republican colleagues to sit on a committee on earmark reform.
Rep. Wamp was one of 10 Republicans chosen for the panel, which will file a report by Feb. 16 on how to make the earmarking process more accountable and transparent. Republicans are urging Democrats to also select 10 members for the committee.
“We need sweeping reforms in a comprehensive way on how earmarks are decided and this Select Committee should help Congress get to the root of the problems in the current system and make meaningful recommendations for the future,” Rep. Wamp said.
Compiled by Washington correspondent Herman Wang.
E-mail Herman Wang at firstname.lastname@example.org