published Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

24-year-old candidate Weston Wamp tops $250,000 at fundraiser

Who do you support for the 3rd Congressional District?

Supporters of Weston Wamp gave the 24-year-old Republican challenger more than $250,000 Monday night in the biggest fundraiser ever in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District.

"This is the start of a winning congressional campaign," Wamp told nearly 100 supporters who each donated from $500 to $5,000 to help seed the campaign. "People are obviously frustrated by what is going on in Washington and are looking for a new generation of leadership and people who will break the mold. I'm vowing to you that I'll break the mold."

Wamp is trying to oust U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., the 49-year-old attorney who won his seat in Congress in 2010. Fleischmann succeeded Wamp's father, former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Tenn., who gave up his congressional seat after 16 years to run unsuccessfully for governor.

The elder Wamp said his son "is even better than I was" in campaigning and, if elected, will bring more energy and attention as potentially the youngest member of the next Congress.

The younger Wamp praised his father's congressional career but said new leaders are needed in Washington willing to make "deep long-term reforms" of government, its tax system and entitlement programs. Unlike Fleischmann, Wamp insisted, "I am not a partisan," calling himself instead "a young conservative."

"Chuck Fleischmann is a nice man, but in many ways he represents the status quo in Washington," Wamp said.

Alexis Bogo, the executive director of the Hamico foundation who hosted the fundraiser at her North Chattanooga home, said Wamp "brings a new energy and enthusiasm" to the race and is able to involve a younger generation of supporters.

"When you talk about politics, you usually aren't energized," she said. "But spending time with Weston you see that he has lot of great ideas and wants to make a real difference in Washington."

Monday's fundraiser for Wamp topped a Fleischmann fundraiser in October with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner which netted more than $200,000 for the incumbent. But Fleischmann previously raised another $352,288, so he still has a bigger campaign war chest as he seeks re-election next year.

Fleischmann said Monday he was elected "to get our fiscal house in order and help turn this country around" and that is his focus at present, not running for re-election.

"I'm going to continue to focus on my job day in and day out and forget about the politics," he said.

Jean Howard-Hill, a UTC political science professor, is the only other announced candidate in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District, although Chattanooga attorney J.B. Bennett and Tres Wittum, a policy analyst for state Sen. Bo Watson, R-Hixson, also are considering running for the seat.

Contact staff writer Dave Flessner at or at 757-6340

about Dave Flessner...

Dave Flessner is the business editor for the Times Free Press. A journalist for 35 years, Dave has been business editor and projects editor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press, city editor for The Chattanooga Times, business and county reporter for the Chattanooga Times, correspondent for the Lansing State Journal and Ingham County News in Michigan, staff writer for the Hastings Daily Tribune in Nebraska, and news director for WCBN-FM in Michigan. Dave, a native ...

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lookinfour said...

Congress isn't a place to start a career. Weston, please do yourself a favor and go get a real job and get some experience. Private sector. What do you want to be, a career politician? Your dad is trying to live his politics through you now. Don't do it!!!

December 6, 2011 at 2:32 a.m.
ldurham said...

Well, the good news is, the recession is over. It must be, if Chattanooga folks are able to waste $250K on Boy Wonder's Excellent Adventure.

Wow, 1800 kids names on the Salvation Army Angel Tree at Hamilton Place who won't have a Christmas. But there's $250,000 being thrown in this kid's direction. Unbelievable. Only in Chattanooga.

December 6, 2011 at 8:14 a.m.
robert_mc said...

@ldurham - While unfortunate that those names are on the Salvation Army Angel Tree, sometimes you have to pick your battles and look at the bigger picture. If we want to turn things around for our country then sometimes sacrifices have to be made near-term. It's the sad truth but necessary. What good will paying for those Christmas presents be if our country defaults in five years and unemployment reaches 40%? Worst case scenario but still worth considering...

December 6, 2011 at 9:15 a.m.
terrybham said...

I wonder what those nice folks think they are buying. A Congressman?

December 6, 2011 at 12:33 p.m.
ldurham said...

robert_mc: seriously, dude?

December 6, 2011 at 2:31 p.m.
robert_mc said...

@ldurham: I believe everybody has a role to play in this world and some people need to donate to charities like The Salvation Army while others should donate to what they believe to be more wide-reaching and long-term solutions.
Bill Gates could buy a toy for every disadvantaged child in America but instead he chooses to tackle large-scale issues that are riskier and do not guarantee results. Should he use his money every Christmas to buy toys or should he use it for a bigger albeit riskier ten year pay-off? While obviously not directly correlated, the scenarios are similar with some political donors. Should they focus on the short-term or the long-term? If they believe (as the majority of our nation does) that our current government is unsustainable, don't they have a responsibility to put change in motion? With money comes greater power and thus greater responsibility right? If you were surprised by the "unfortunate" reality of my first answer I would recommend spending some time thinking about what role you need to play in these trying times, what impact you can bring, and exactly how you can and will bring positive change to this world. Be careful, you could spend your whole life worrying about what other people do and forget to do anything yourself.
On a side-note... judging by your usage of "dude" and your original post, I am assuming that you are young and probably just bitter towards anybody that has received an "opportunity" not bestowed upon you as well. Sorry friend but life is not about the cards you were dealt, it is about how well you play your hand.

December 6, 2011 at 4:06 p.m.
WampNO said...

Has anyone considered that Zach can legally be a lobbyist next congressional session and he is now working to put his son in congress? I am sure that isn’t his agenda. I would assume that Zach hasn’t considered that. Although, it does sound like he is practicing his lobbying skills calling around and calling in the favors.

I do wonder what makes Zach’s son a leader for his generation. Who is he been involved with? Was he the captain of the basketball team in High School? Class President? Youth organizer for “Wamp for Governor?” When asked to put out his plan, he said “I don’t have one yet.” I just don’t understand. “The status quo” in Washington is both Wamp and Flieshmann – How does he find what his family is doing any different? Zach Wamp created a “debt paying generation,” only for his son to ensure there stays one.

Is Zach running for congress threw his son? I feel bad for the guy really, he’s being set up. They will eat him alive in Washington… only to have Zach call and chew them out. You think they don’t respect Fleishmann, send this kid, I am sure they will show him respect for him as his “own man.” … Will you vote Wamp, NO!

December 6, 2011 at 4:09 p.m.
ldurham said...

lesliesmart: got proof? Where's the list?

December 6, 2011 at 5:50 p.m.
EastRidger said...

$250,000 in one night? Lets look at the quarterly FEC Report when it comes out in January.

He may have done it. The first big fundraiser always gets the "low hanging fruit" and is usually where the easy money is.

There will be the family, close friends, the naive, those Zach can scare and shake down, and many who actually dispise Legacy Boy but are afraid he actually might win and might need a favor later. The last group are political prostitutes and usually only give once because they are hedging their bets. They are the type that fawned all over Al Gore when he was popular in Tennessee in the 1980's and 10 years later just loved Fred Thompson.

If the $250,000 is not on the report then basically he is already lying and just one more reason why a 25 year old with no record of accomplishment whatsover should not be trusted with such an important office

December 10, 2011 at 3:32 p.m.
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