published Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

Fleischmann gains Smith's supporters, but not her backing

by Dan Whisenhunt

Republican 3rd Congressional District candidate Chuck Fleischmann won endorsements from five former supporters of his GOP primary rival, Robin Smith, but probably shouldn't hold his breath if he wants Smith's support before the Nov. 2 election.

Fleischmann said he would welcome it; Smith says so would other independent candidates, but she won't endorse a candidate in the race.

Former Smith supporters who have endorsed Fleischmann:

* U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind.

* U.S. Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

* State Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Kingsport

* State Rep. Vince Dean, R-East Ridge

* State Rep. Gerald McCormick, R-Chattanooga

* U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Source: Chuck Fleischmann campaign

She said independent Savas Kyriakidis approached her seeking an endorsement and she also was approached about starting her own write-in campaign, but declined.

In an e-mail, she alluded to tensions between her and Fleischmann during the bitter primary struggle.

"My motivation in 'not endorsing' is based on my 20-plus years working for pro-business, pro-life, anti-tax, pro-gun conservative causes," Smith said. "I have never worked in a campaign that served to personally destroy an individual's character."

Kyriakidis said he understands why Smith didn't endorse Fleischmann.

"The way the primary was conducted, it's not surprising that everyone didn't grab hands and sing 'Kumbaya,'" Kyriakidis said.

Smith said if her supporters are endorsing Fleischmann, it's "their decision."

"My goal is always what's right for me based on principle, not what's politically expedient or correct," she said.

The campaign between Smith and Fleischmann featured heated attacks over endorsements and Smith's time as the state GOP chairwoman.

Smith implied that Fleischmann bought an endorsement from Fox News personality and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee; Fleischmann said Smith left the state party in debt.

Fleischmann said Tuesday he doesn't "perceive any bitterness" from Smith.

"I think there's been a tremendous healing process that's going on," Fleischmann said. "A lot of her supporters have come over to me. ... I wish Mrs. Smith and all the other candidates the very best."

He noted that two of his other GOP primary opponents, Tim Gobble and Tommy Crangle, endorsed him after the race.

Crangle said he got behind Fleischmann because that's what a Republican should do and he doesn't agree with Smith's refusal to endorse the party's candidate.

"I would not consider myself a good Republican if I did something like that," Crangle said. "This thing is not about an individual. This is about this country."

Gobble said he wouldn't speculate on why Smith won't support Fleischmann, but said he personally believes supporting the party's nominee is the right thing to do.


An article that ran in Wednesday's Times Free Press regarding endorsements in the 3rd Congressional District Race should have said that losing GOP candidate Robin Smith says she sent two e-mails to victor Chuck Fleischmann after the primary. She says Fleischmann did not respond. Fleischmann said he called Smith after the primary. Smith said Fleischmann did call her but during a time when he knew she would be unavailable.

Contact Dan Whisenhunt at or 423-757-6481. Follow him on Twitter at

Continue reading by following these links to related stories:

Article: 3rd District hopefuls target Fleischmann

Article: Fleischmann resumes TV ads

Article: Fleischmann still won’t debate

about Dan Whisenhunt...

Dan Whisenhunt covers Hamilton County government for the Times Free Press. A native of Mobile, Ala., Dan earned a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Alabama. He won first place for best in-depth news coverage in the 2010 Alabama Press Association contest; the FOI-First Amendment Award in the 2007 Alabama Press Association contest; first place for best public service story in the Alabama AP Managing Editors contest in 2009 for economic coverage; and ...

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JoeCuppa said...

Crangle and his campaign staff have been supporting Savas. Tim Gobble is licking anyone's boots to give him a job. He was courting Chuck and Chuck has helped him get the job working for Sheriff Hammond. Hammond better watch his back. Now Gobble is trying to gain favor with Bill Haslam, for what is reportedly a Department of Safety job. People in the know seem to feel Tim Gobble is a has been who doesn't have the right stuff. I just thinks he's way too sold on himself. Crangle, while always a class act seems like a goldfish swimming with sharks. I hope he enjoys retirement. This whole process is distasteful. Robin will be back in 2012. While I was not a Robin supporter, mainly do to her sharp tongued ways, I definitely can't support letting Chuck become an incumbent for the next go around in 2012. Vote for Savas or DeVol.

October 27, 2010 at 7:43 a.m.
fairmon said...

Kyriakidis is the most qualified and committed candidate. He will get my vote and I hope he surprises both parties by winning this election. The district would be served well and could be proud of their representative in congress. He has consistently stated his position and has never run a disgusting negative ad.

People still have time to evaluate all candidates and make an informed choice. It is too bad blind party loyalty and money usually decides who is elected.

October 27, 2010 at 8:13 a.m.
rosebud said...

What an absolutely awful field of candidates. The GOP should be ashamed and embarrassed that they weren't able to come up with anyone capable of following Zach Wamp. It's obvious that neither Smith nor Fleischmann truly has the backing of most Republicans. Hopefully someone good can be recruited to run in 2012, leaving these wanna-bes on the sidelines.

October 27, 2010 at 8:23 a.m.
gimmeabreak said...

Gobble and Crangle have conducted themselves honorably. Mrs. Smith, on the other hand, has proven that the people of the 3rd district chose well when they rejected her. Mrs. Smith's sole focus has been herself--not her party or country. We don't need representation like that in Washington.

October 27, 2010 at 8:47 a.m.

I don't know Robin Smith but her reported comments covering prior political happenings over the past several years are soild indicators of a mean and hateful person who would not listen to nor consider alternate opinions.

Chuck is proving to be a dishonorable candidate by refusing to debate anyone. If he thinks hiding will help him win the election, then I'll help him hide permanantly.

I'm voting for Savas.

October 27, 2010 at 10:26 a.m.
pemallard said...

I have been following the campaign since March 27th and needless to say it has been an eye opener for me. I have never been involved politically and because of a chance encounter I got involved in the Van Irion campaign. My husband and I have followed the campaign videotaping it and learned a lot about politics. Maybe you can be helped by some things I realized. 1. Never believe anything in the paper or online that doesn't have a by-line on it. It's not a story, it's a press release from the camp of the person they are promoting. Sometimes the reporters actually get it right and sometimes they like to just keep the fray going though. 2. Never trust anyone that comes in the race late, they are obviously a plant to water down votes. 3. Don't believe polls that were taken at any rally where everyone knew there would be a poll so they pack the room with family and friends that may or may not live in this area. 4. Only trust comments from people that actually sign their own name and not something that can identify them, as they probably work for a candidate and are in a race to keep their candidates name out there. 5. No matter how hard it is and how inconvenient it is get out and do the research and vote. 6. When a campaign brags about how much money they have do the research and find out if they gave it to themselves or if the people actually are supporting the candidate. They like to blow the support way out of proportion by loaning themselves money. It is not a reflection of how much support they have, it's also not uncommon to get the support from Lobbyist already, who are also giving money to the other side.

My name is Pat Mallard and I'm not hiding behind anything. Who else in this list above me has got the nerve to sign their own name and admit who they are. No one reading this cares who I am voting for they should only care who they think can do the job and not be in this race for any other reason than to straighten out the mess the federal government has gotten us into.

October 27, 2010 at 12:57 p.m.
MountainJoe said...

Like it or not Chuck is going to win because he has the (R) by his name and that is what it takes to win in the 3rd district. No independent will win in a partisan race. They can take a few percent of the votes from Chuck, but nowhere near enough votes to actually win. The only risk, and it is a minor one because he has so little support, is that they could potentially siphon off enough votes from Chuck to let Wolfe win. Now there would be a real victory for the "conservative independents" to crow about ... electing a full-on socialist, Pelosi-supporting Democrat instead of a semi-conservative, establishment type Republican like Chuck.

October 27, 2010 at 1:57 p.m.
msbs05 said...

I say good for Robin, she has principles and conservative values that Fleischman does not have. I supported Robin, but I am now voting for Savas, so the writer is not correct that Robin voters are going to Chuck. Savas is a solid conservative with Christian values and has served his country in the military. Chuck is going to DC to serve himself, he will not maintain GOP ban on earmarks and will make the national GOP look bad. My vote may not stop Chuck from winning, but I can not bring myself to support him.

October 27, 2010 at 2:24 p.m.
wheatfarmer said...

Why would anyone want to vote for a disappearing candidate?

What happened to Chuck after the primay?

Vote Savas

October 27, 2010 at 5:49 p.m.
fairmon said...

Pat Mallard makes an excellent point. I support and voted for Savas. Devol is an excellent candidate as well. Both have principles and neither is for sale. I believe either one of them would work hard at addressing the dilemma this country is in.

I can only hope enough independents and intelligent party members recognize the opportunity the third district has and supports Savas or Devol.

I have avoided being involved in politics but it is time for everyone to get educated and know why they support a particular candidate for reasons other than the party line.

October 27, 2010 at 6:23 p.m.
ibshame said...

All of this talk about voting for someone other than Chuck is funny. How do some think he got elected during the primary in the first place? Did it ever occur to some the reason he was elected was because he was not as much of a wingnut as Robin Smith? Yeah, she carried Hamilton County but when it came to Oak Ridge and the other part of the third district that is not as wingnut as Hamilton County, she lost and the rest is history.
Chuckie won't debate Wolfe because he's afraid of some of the questions he might be asked such as: Does he intend to vote to privatize Social Security while he's voting to reverse Obama Care? Does he believe like some of the wingnuts in his party that Obama is a muslim or not a citizen of this country? Unlike Robin Smith, Chuckie has to steer clear of direct attacks on Obama because if he doesn't he just might generate enough interest in the African American Community to get out the vote AGAINST him in particular here in Chattanooga. His campaign manager Chip Saltsman is infamous for his "Barack, the Magic Negro" CD in the 2008 Presidential campaign. I'm sure he does not want to have to defend that at this late date. He knows Bob Corker didn't carry the City of Chattanooga in the African American Community in his 2006 bid to become Senator because he was running against Harold Ford, Jr. but Ron Littlefield did carry the majority vote in the African American Community in his mayoral run and it put him over the top.
One wrong statement in a debate from Chuckie could generate the type of interest in this election he doesn't want. He knows that and so does his campaign manager.

October 27, 2010 at 6:35 p.m.
sideviews said...

Robin Smith said she has never worked on a campaign that served to personally destroy a person's character. Yet she was the one as Tennessee's Republican Party chairwoman who always used Barak Obama's middle name. Smith pictured the future president in Somali tribal garb, referred to his Muslim supporters, and claimed Obama "surrounded himself with advisers and received endorsements from people who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel." Her speech was denounced by everyone from John McCain to Lamar Alexander as being too mean spirited and personal in attacking Obama. As president Obama has repeatedly confirmed he is Christian and regards Israel as one of our closest allies -- and continues to get the biggest amount of foreign from the United States of any country in the world. I wouldn't presume to judge another like Robin Smith. But it would seem her attacks on Obama were personal, mean spirited and ultimately untruthful.

October 27, 2010 at 10:41 p.m.
rosebud said...

It's pretty obvious by now that the Republicans are getting what they deserve.

October 28, 2010 at 9 a.m.
gm1220 said...

Joecuppa . . .get off Tim Gobble! He has more class than you ever will. I don't ever remember reading in blogs where Tim was unkind to anyone! Especially You!

October 28, 2010 at 9:19 a.m.
rosebud said...

The sweetest thing happened today. My daughter came home from school in tears. She said, "My teacher was trying to tell us that the jolly elf who promises all the gifts and goodies doesn't really exist...that he can't be seen by human eyes."

I said, "Do you mean Santa Claus, dear?"

She said, "No silly. I mean Chuck Fleischmann."

October 28, 2010 at 1:29 p.m.
tennstar said...

Robin Smith=LOSER! Robin Smith supporters still with her are a bunch of pitiful pods. Of course she declined a write-in campaign because she would have lost again. Pretty funny what a sore loser she is when all she does is lose. How many other chairmen of the Republican party would not vote Republican? She cares about Robin--that's it. Her way or the highway. I say, "Take the highway, Robin, far, far away." You lost. No one cares what you have to say or what you think. Maybe you can get together with your fellow loser Wamp (who also bashed his Republican opponent since losing the primary) and disappear. It's over. Good riddance.

October 28, 2010 at 2:43 p.m.
tcrangle said...

Reference to joecuppa or cuppajoe? I have never supported Savas.

I ran in the Republican Primary for the 3rd District U.S. Congress. Chuck Fleischmann was one of my challengers.

I endorsed Chuck after he won the primary because: 1. I am a "good" Republican, 2. Chuck embraces (as do I) the Republican Principles of smaller government, lower taxes to stimulate the economy, pro life, santity of marriage, pro gun, individual freedom, equality, free enterprise, etc. That makes him a "good" Republican and a good American, 3. If elected on November 2, He has the best chance of getting the things done in Washington that we all want.

I endorsed Chuck early (on the night of the primary election) and 9 days later at the Hamilton County Republican Party Unity Breakfast because I thought that would help him do a good job in Washington. "Gotta get in early." We can all help him by supporting him and praying for him.

Concerning the debates, Chuck and I and several other candidates shared the stage in debates and forums all over the district during the Primary. I wish everyone could have been there. Independent Mark DeVol was there many times(to his credit).

Two of the Independents are now saying they are true Republicans. Where were they in the Republican Primary? Would they convert to the Republican Party should they win? To me that would be dishonest and dishonoring to the ones who may vote for them.

BTW Joe, can you imagine how tough a goldfish would have to be to survive swimming with sharks? The rumor of my retirement is premature.

Thanks for the good comments, Joe.

Let's go with Chuck.

Tommy Crangle, former Candidate for U. S. Congress, 3rd District, Tennessee

October 29, 2010 at 4:59 p.m.
SUsary said...

I was amused by a video on John Wolfe's campaign website in which Mr. Wolfe challenged "Chuckles" to a debate. Mr. Fleischmann's snide refusal surprised me not at all. He strikes me as an utterly programmed, robotic candidate whose every utterance is carefully prescribed by his consultants and handlers. Obviously, these Republican operatives figure that they must micro-manage the ill-qualified Fleischmann and keep him out of sight or sound as much as possible until the election. As a former resident of CD-3, I urge voters to reject this vacuous Republican cypher. Wamp was bad enough, but his putative successor is probably even worse, an empty suit with matching cranium who will slavishly vote as Messrs. Boehner and Cantor tell him. That means, of course, that Mr. Fleischmann can be relied upon to vote for the oligarchic corporate interests that control the Republican party in Congress.

October 31, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.
TN_Mtn_Man said...

Chuck didn't debate because he didn't know how.... His main ad where he's bobbing his head up and down - great marketing opp, Chuckie Bobble Heads - at leat that way we'd get some use out of the guy through humor.

November 3, 2010 at 1:21 a.m.
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