U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleishmann, who faced intense opposition from fellow Republicans in past campaigns, coasted to a victory in Thursday’s 2016 GOP primary over two opponents who put little money into their unsuccessful efforts – one of them a Georgia resident.
The primary win puts Fleischmann, a Chattanooga lawyer, on a clear path toward a fourth two-year term of representing the 3rd Congressional District, which leans strongly Republican. His Democratic opponent in November will be Melody Shekari, who won a three-candidate contest for the district’s minority party nomination.
Unofficial returns Thursday night showed Fleischmann winning the GOP nod with about 84 percent of the vote while Allan Levene, who lives in Georgia and has run for Congress in that state and two others, and tea party activist Geoffery Suhmer Smith of Athens, each had about 8 percent.
In the Democratic primary, Shekari, a lawyer who has worked with Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, was winning about 51 percent of the Democratic primary vote with Michael Friedman, a University of Tennessee-Chattanooga professor, second with 34 percent, followed by George Ryan Love of Chattanooga at about 15 percent.