NASHVILLE — Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam’s efforts to tout his credentials on Second Amendment gun issues in the Republican gubernatorial primary drew fire Saturday from his GOP rivals, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp and Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.
With early voting in the Aug. 5 GOP primary starting Friday, the Chattanooga congressman and Lt. Gov. Ramsey charged that a recent Haslam campaign direct-mail piece is an attempt to mislead voters about the mayor’s past positions on gun issues.
“I’m trying to be nice, but I mean that’s got to be the most phony thing we’ve seen in Tennessee politics in many years,” Congressman Wamp told reporters before speaking at a Davidson County Republican Party event.
He noted Mayor Haslam joined the National Rifle Association in March 2009 and recently acknowledged in a Times Free Press interview that he doesn’t own a gun.
Mr. Haslam later said there is nothing misleading about the mailer.
“I can assure you, I support Second Amendment rights for Tennesseans. Period,” he said.
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Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...