published Friday, August 6th, 2010

Fleischmann beats Smith in 3rd District

by Larry Henry

Chattanooga attorney Chuck Fleischmann defeated rival Robin Smith, a Hixson health care consultant and former Republican state chairwoman, in a bitterly contested GOP primary election in East Tennessee’s open 3rd Congressional District.

With 99 percent of precincts reporting, Fleischmann led Smith by 1,409 votes, according to the Associated Press. He won 30 percent of Thursday’s vote to her 28 percent, the AP reported.

Watching returns with jubilant supporters at his Market Street headquarters, Fleischmann, 47, who spent more than $700,000 of his own money on the race, said he attributes his victory to his status as a political outsider.

“We basically came to the election as a political newcomer,” the Ooltewah resident said. “The people of the Third District wanted some fresh ideas.”

He rejected criticism from opponents that he bought the election in the 11-county district that includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge.

“We have gotten fantastic support from the people of the district,” he said.

Smith, 47, who was gathered with supporters at The Sports Barn downtown, was unavailable for comment Thursday night.

Fleischmann faces Democrat John Wolfe, a 56-year-old Chattanooga attorney, in the Nov. 2 general election, with the ultimate winner taking office in January. Congress members receive $174,000 annually.

Wolfe, who was unavailable for comment Thursday, outpaced three Democratic opponents with 39 percent of the vote after 99 percent of the precincts had reported, according to The New York Times.

Wolfe, who won the Democratic nomination in 2002 and 2004, told the Chattanooga Times Free Press recently he is in favor of abortion rights and governmental earmarks, as long as they are used responsibly.

Twenty-one candidates entered the race to replace U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., in the district, but much of the attention went to Fleischmann and Smith, who leveled accusations at each other over the airwaves and in mailers. Wamp has held the seat since 1995 but ran for governor.

On July 12, a poll in the 3rd District by the conservative Club for Growth, a Washington, D.C.-based political action committee that endorsed Smith, showed her with a 22-point lead over Fleischmann.

Four days later, on the first day of early voting, Fleischmann began airing television ads criticizing Smith, a former state GOP chairwoman, for leaving the party with a financial shortfall when she handed over the reins in 2009. Within weeks, a Fleischmann poll showed the race in a dead heat.

Smith’s television advertising touted her fiscal conservatism, but she also aired radio ads calling Fleischmann a “slip-and-fall” attorney who has gotten rich by suing a local rifle club, Walmart and church.

Fleischmann, who was endorsed by Fox News weekend host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, put $100,000 of his own money in the race in the last week, according to the Federal Election Commission website.


The 11-county 3rd Congressional District, which represents about 650,000 East Tennesseans, stretches from the Georgia to Kentucky borders and includes Chattanooga, Cleveland and Oak Ridge.

Smith’s campaign had only $147,176 to spend at the end of the June 30 reporting period, but she benefited from independent-expenditure television advertising aired by the anti-tax Club for Growth. The PAC spend $79,000 on TV ads questioning Fleischmann’s commitment to ending federal

earmark spending. In addition, the group’s supporters have contributed more than $107,000 to Smith’s campaign, according to the FEC site.

The Fleischmann campaign criticized a mailer sent this week from the Club for Growth asking recipients to call him if they want “an aggressive earmarker” in Congress at a toll-free number, 800-Get-Some-Pork, that connects to a sex hotline.

Richard Wilson, a University of Tennessee at Chattanooga political science professor, has said that while the district is conservative, a Democrat has an outside chance, with the Republican being tarnished from a divisive primary campaign.

The only Democrats who had raised the $5,000 required to file an FEC report were Community Bridgebuilders board member Brenda Freeman Short, 64, who pulled in $11,324, and 40-year-old physician Brent Staton, who raised $20,372, including $3,222 of his own money.

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: Fleischmann beats Smith in 3rd District

Article: It’s Haslam vs. McWherter

Follow this link to our Tennessee Elections 2010 website

Follow Tennessee and Georgia political news on Twitter by following this link.

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ShaneUsary said...

Well, at least the third is rid of Wampuke. I seem vaguely to recall this fellow from my years in Chattanooga as a practicing attorney, but know little about him. I do, however, detect in his win the unpleasant aroma of stale pekoe emanating from the "teabaggers." I do hope you have a viable Democratic alternative. My vague memories of Mr. Fleischmann lead me to question his qualifications, stature, and capacity for the job. But then, anyone would beat what you've had since 1995. Odd. The third has a long history of electing lightweights to Congress over the past fifty years. Bill Brock, the airheaded rich boy. Lamar Baker, who, if memory serves, sold janitorial supplies. Mrs. Lloyd, the beneficiary of her husband's death, a nonentity who stayed in office due to a crack constituency service operation and all but abandoned her party in the end. Then, Wampuke, who requires no further elaboration. At least this boy can't possibly be any worse. The last decent fellow you people sent to Congress was, I believe, old James Frazier fifty years ago.

August 6, 2010 at 12:49 a.m.
notlittletommy said...

I find it interesting that the TFP was the ONLY media in town that could not - and did not - get a comment from Robin Smith. Guess you need to go to to get her entire speech. Typical coverage. What a mediocre paper this has become. Just when TG decided it was time to leave and LH decides as managing editor he can write a fair and balanced story (complete with typos and left out words). Come on, Todd, get this rag moving in the right direction!

August 6, 2010 at 3:05 a.m.
enufisenuf said...

"I do hope you have a viable Democratic alternative"

Wake up Shane look what the Dummiecrats have sone since the last election, the poor state of the economy and the mad Americans are fed up of the road trip to the demise of freedom by the deoacommies. What is it about dem party that removes all logic and common sense? Nevermind, that have never been able to do anything more than whine and it's not gonna change

August 6, 2010 at 8:10 a.m.
Saban101 said...

Robin could have won if she would have spoken out boldly for moral values, instead of trying to run as a "centrist". Our lying president said he opposed gay marriage in the campaign but has the nerve to put a perv on the Supreme Court! I supported Huckabee in 2008 Primary but I didn't think he had any business getting involved here. That hurt Robin as well.

August 6, 2010 at 8:34 a.m.

Shane, Shane please go away.

Robin woukd have lost much more convincingly had it been a two person race. The votes for Tim Gobble and Van Irion were also "anti-Washington" votes that Robin would not have seen, either.

August 6, 2010 at 8:52 a.m.
gimmeabreak said...

TFP continues to harp on Mr. Fleischmann's contribution of personal money to his campaign. Most people do not think this is an issue. It is better for a candidate to use their own money than take money from special interest groups, Washington elites, and people outside the district.

August 6, 2010 at 9:18 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

Isn't a saban one of those fancy high powered vibrators that Howard Stern had on his show?

August 6, 2010 at 9:27 a.m.

"Well, at least the third is rid of Wampuke. I seem vaguely to recall this fellow from my years in Chattanooga as a practicing attorney, but know little about him.... My vague memories of Mr. Fleischmann lead me to question his qualifications, stature, and capacity for the job".

I'd hire a farmer with a horse and buggy to defend me rather than an ill-informed, highly biased attorney such as yourself Bub.

So typical of the Left-Prog set who vote for the most corrupt Pols we have in the nation, based upon pure emotion, what sounds good coming out of their mouths, little to no honest research other than maybe visiting Huff and Puff, Moveon-to the Marxist Left or the White House missives sent by Twitter and Tweet, the evil twins of mass destruction.

*Disclosure for the jump on the band-wagoners: I did not vote for Wamp, Fleischmann or Smith. I just hope that if Chuck goes to Washington he sheds his attorney cape and dons the one needed to fight for the little guys and gals, against a slimy, very corrupt Machine. Good men and women have been taken down many a time in that Swamp in DC Land. Put on your armor Knight Chuck and gird for the battle man!

August 6, 2010 at 9:52 a.m.
dt4c said...

I think Wamp needs to mount a write in campaign.

August 6, 2010 at 9:55 a.m.
eeeeeek said...

Wamp has been living on C Street.. I'm sure he's willing to mount anything

August 6, 2010 at 10:23 a.m.
tennstar said...

"Ding Dong" the REAL witch is gone!!!!!

August 6, 2010 at 12:28 p.m.
crtsports said...

Good to see you Republicans "elected" another lying person for a potential house seat. His radio ads were laughable saying he was going to repeal H.R. 3590 or as the ignorant like to say, "Obamacare." You and I both know that will not happen. While its not perfect, its a step in the right direction for healthcare in this country.

Let's go John Wolfe!!!!!!!!!!

August 6, 2010 at 12:52 p.m.
josieeddie said...

Well it is my understanding that the Democrats voted in the Republican primary. Ms. Smith do you remember two years ago and what happened with David Davis’s race. 5000 Democrats voted in the primary and YOU did nothing as the party chair. Well the democrats had the same thing happen and they took action. What goes around comes around. Why do we have primary’s? So why don’t we have a general election only. Until our respective party chairs make a stand this will always happen. Sorry Ms Smith you will not be going to Washington!

August 6, 2010 at 1:26 p.m.
ShaneUsary said...

Re the beautiful, invective prose of "enufisenuf," just as is the case with his party's nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives, I detect the rancid odor of spoiled pekoe emanating from a "Teabagger" soiree. I suspect that, were you a rational voter and voted your class interests, you would vote Democratic, but as a probable teabagger, you allow yourself to be diverted by non-issues: gun control, abortion, appeals to religion and other such Medieval nonsense, the promises of tax cuts that ultimately benefit the very wealthy, in other words, the tactics employed by the Republican party for at least four decades. As for your willingness to retain me as legal counsel, I strongly suspect that you couldn't close to affording me. Finally, I reiterate an earlier point. The third district electorate has a way of electing lightweights, sleazes, and idiots to represent it in Congress. Since I was unfortunate enough to inhabit Nooga for over a decade, and knowing something about the electorate there, I figure you get the representation you deserve. Now, go light a candle at your living room shrine to the Palin woman.

August 6, 2010 at 2:01 p.m.
ShaneUsary said...

As for "bookieturnersghost" and his suggestion that I "please go away," I'll be happy to oblige. The mere thought of Chattanooga depresses me. This gentleman's invocation of James "Bookie" Turner is somehow appropriate, since both the gentleman who assumes that nom de plume and Chattanooga in general froze in time circa 1957. Well, at least Turner provided a little amusement in a banal, tiresome town full of banal, mediocre politicians.

August 6, 2010 at 2:12 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

tax cuts that ultimately benefit the very wealthy

As for your willingness to retain me as legal counsel, I strongly suspect that you couldn't close to affording me

I am thinking that shane claims to be a democrat..however if the person can't afford him as legal counsel that to me seems to be very capitalistic which flys in the face of the democrats

interesting of the first things JFK did was an across the board tax cut...very republican wouldnt you say?

August 6, 2010 at 2:18 p.m.
ShaneUsary said...

I cannot resist one more thing. "crtsports" seems to have the realistic measure of things. Mr. Wolfe CAN win this thing, I think, provided the DCCC doesn't write the third district off as a "redneck" or "yahoo" Tennessee constituency that has become a hopeless case for anyone even slightly to the left of Herbert Hoover. I hope that isn't the case, but frankly, I increasingly fear otherwise. I think I'll be contacting some fundraising friends of mine in the Democratic party in the hope I can convince them to put some funds into this race.

August 6, 2010 at 2:19 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Are pigs getting ready to fly? Will hell freeze over? When Councilman Brooks, gets whipped in a heavily demo by a newcomer republican, it does not take a rocket scientist to realize that the chances of Wolfe winning are non existant

August 6, 2010 at 2:25 p.m.
ShaneUsary said...

"[O]rdinary guy" may have a point. But, as my views have evolved over the years, I'm probably going to remove myself ere long from a profession that I have come to regard as "just a business," a feeding frenzy for greedy, amoral, one-track minded status-mongers. I was trained as an academic before I became what my late grandfather called a "lie-yer." I'm ready to do something else of greater value and benefit, so please forgive and don't lay the "well-to-do leftist" or "limousine liberal" tags on me.

August 6, 2010 at 2:30 p.m.
Jimtbo said...

Just what we need in D.C. ... another trial lawyer. Come on 3rd District!!!

August 6, 2010 at 2:46 p.m.
ordinaryguy said...

Both the democrat and republican are trial what is the point?

August 6, 2010 at 2:48 p.m.
Jimtbo said...

Are you saying the Dembo candidate is also a lawyer, ordinaryguy? If so, then so sad:) Ya' know, way back in the olden days when the country was moving west, new communities would actually banish the practice of Law by statute ... along with other unsavory occupations ... like prostitutiuon. I wonder why?

August 6, 2010 at 4:49 p.m.
harrystatel said...

Prostitutes and lawyers the same thing?

That's an insult to prostitutes.

August 6, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.
Jimtbo said...

Well, you might have a point or two there, ShaneUsary. Afterall, this community continued to re-elect that Dem dame, Marylin what's her name over and over. Crazy, mind boggling!! A good arguement for term limits, I think. Well, got to run. I've got important things to do .. like light some more candels on my Palin alter instead of wasting my time exchanging pleasantries with know-it-all like you. Go Tea Party!!

August 6, 2010 at 6:11 p.m.
Oz said...

Maybe Van Irion will run as an independent.

August 6, 2010 at 11:30 p.m.
ShaneUsary said...

In response to Jimtbo's screed, it serves as a perfect example of the teabagger mentality, in two senses of the word "mentality." Allow me to point out a few items: "candels (sic)"? "arguement (sic)"? Your Palin "alter (sic)"? "Marylin (sic)?" Really, old top, something tells me you're in a bit over your head. There are courses available that would prepare you for the GED, you know.

August 7, 2010 at 12:18 a.m.
musiccity4me said...

As a Republican, Nashville resident, and strong Robin Smith supporter I have analyzed this election. Robin's victory in her hometown was completely off set in Anderson County and Roane County with a 1500 vote margin. Fleischmann had to have a big vote there to win the election. The grass roots campaign engineered by Mr Beauchamp was the difference in the election. If he supports a different candidate, Robin would have won the election. I was stunned that he pulled it off with all the support she had in Anderson County. He is to be congratulated for his efforts. Fleischmann carried no other county by more than 550 votes. I applaud Robin Smith and all her contributions to our state party. She did amazing things during her tenure. I hope Mr Fleischmann will keep his word and vote against earmarks in Washington DC and repeal ObamaCare.

August 8, 2010 at 9:40 p.m.
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