Tag Archives: fleischman

Majority Leader Cantor Visits Oak Ridge

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s first visit to Oak Ridge was short and busy, but he still came away impressed, according to Frank Munger.
Cantor was keynote speaker Thursday at the Tennessee Valley Corridor Summit, offering his views on budget battles in Washington, taking a few light jabs at the White House and showing he’d done a little research on Oak Ridge before he arrived and went straight to the stage.
“From the beginning, I know that Oak Ridge has been one of America’s strongest forces for peace,” Cantor said, referencing the Atomic City’s role in the World War II Manhattan Project.
The Virginia Republican tied the early atomic work on weapons, which ultimately were used to “help break the back of the Soviet Union” in the Cold War, to Oak Ridge’s pioneering role in producing radioisotopes for cancer therapies, which he called proof “of the serendipity of science.”
He said these were “amazing feats” and a source of inspiration and innovation.
Cantor said there’s a lot of discussion in Washington these days about the proper role of the federal government, and he said it is “appropriate and desirable” for federal policy to serve as a catalyst for the discoveries that take place at the facilities in Oak Ridge.
“The job in Washington is to encourage the innovation,” he said. “It is not to allow gridlock to stand in the way.”
Following his remarks, Cantor got a 25-minute tour of the Y-12 National Security Complex.
He fielded a few questions from the news media, and then was whisked away to speak at a $500-a-plate fundraiser for his host, U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn.


Note: See also the Chattanooga Times-Free Press report, HERE.

State GOP Denies Leaking File Used in Fleischmann Attack Ad

The Tennessee Republican Party on Monday denied leaking in-house personnel files that benefited U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s first campaign, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
State party attorney Bill Outhier couldn’t pinpoint the source beyond the denial.
“Your speculation is as good as mine,” he said Tuesday.
Originally stored at state GOP headquarters in Nashville, the documents inspired a 2010 Fleischmann campaign ad that attacked Republican rival Robin Smith. A TV voiceover charged that Smith paid “lavish bonuses” to staffers while she was state party chairwoman and financial times were tough.
Fleischmann campaign consultant Chip Saltsman produced the ad using former Smith aide Mark Winslow’s Tennessee Republican Party personnel file, which included salary information and a mutual confidentiality clause. Saltsman later said he obtained the file when an unknown source left it on his garage steps.
Winslow sued Fleischmann and Saltsman for defamation and the Tennessee Republican Party for breach of contract.
“The state party had the documents,” Winslow attorney Gary Blackburn said. “They escaped to Mr. Saltsman. We still don’t know how.”
The ad aired late in the 2010 3rd District Republican primary race. Fleischmann beat Smith by 1,415 votes and steamrolled the Democratic nominee. He won re-election in November.
An Ooltewah attorney, Fleischmann has called Winslow’s case “frivolous,” but he declined to comment Tuesday. The congressman was unable to corroborate the “lavish bonuses” claim in a deposition last year.
In a separate deposition, state party chairman Chris Devaney testified the personnel documents didn’t come from him or the party.
“You know, just like every document at the party — the place is under lock and key,” Devaney said. “And you know, I believe that the place is secure.”

Chip Leaving as Chuck’s Chief

Congressman Chuck Fleischmann’s office announced Friday that Chip Saltsman will step down as Fleischmann’s chief of staff effective Jan. 1 after what the Chattanooga Times-Free Press characterizes as “a successful, high-profile and sometimes controversial three years as a confidant, campaign consultant and office supervisor.”
“Chip has been an incredible asset for the last two years,” Fleischmann said in a news release. “His knowledge of politics and public policy is second to none. I thank him for his tireless service and look forward to his advice and counsel in the future.”
Fleischmann legislative director Jim Hippe, a former Bill Frist staffer, will replace Saltsman. The news release gave no reason for the change but said it was part of a long-term plan.
The 2008 presidential campaign manager for FOX News host and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Saltsman was considered by those close to Fleischmann to favor politics over government. As a campaign consultant, he brass-knuckled health care consultant Robin Smith in 2010 and retired dairy executive Scottie Mayfield this year. Both were considered Fleischmann’s top rivals in consecutive Republican primaries.
“Without question Chip takes a no-holds-barred approach to winning,” Smith said.
Saltsman did not return a call seeking comment Friday. A former Smith aide is suing Fleischmann and Saltsman over advertising and maneuvering in the 2010 election. The case remains in litigation, and campaign funds have been used to pay Saltsman’s legal fees. Fleischmann has called the lawsuit “frivolous.”
A longtime political operative and former Tennessee Republican Party chairman, Saltsman is perhaps best known nationally for his abbreviated campaign for chairman of the Republican National Committee. The bid fizzled in December 2008 when Saltsman distributed a song to supporters called “Barack the Magic Negro,” a parody sung to the tune of “Puff the Magic Dragon” that mocked President Obama. Less than a year later, he went to work for Fleischmann
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Fleischmann Says No More Debates; Headrick Buys $14K TV Time

Republican U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann on Tuesday confirmed he won’t debate Dr. Mary Headrick again in Tennessee’s 3rd District race, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
Fleischmann campaign spokesman Tyler Threadgill cited his boss’s “full schedule” before Election Day and said the congressman met a single-debate promise when he squared off against Headrick at a lightly attended forum in Bradley County.
But that’s not enough for the Democratic challenger in a district that includes 10 other counties and 692,000 residents.
“It’s so unfair he won’t debate,” Headrick said. “What can I do if he won’t? Spend every dollar I get.”
Records show Headrick, a physician from Maynardville, bought $13,983 in advertising time on two Chattanooga television networks at the beginning of October. Between then and Election Day, that translates to 91 commercials on the city’s ABC and NBC affiliates.
The ads are slated for news and game shows. Headrick is planning a similar buy at Chattanooga’s CBS affiliate, and she’s already running about $8,000 worth of 30-second cable ads throughout the 3rd District, which snakes from Chattanooga to the Kentucky border.

Headrick on Being a Financial Underdog

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann holds an 8-to-1 fundraising lead over his Democratic challenger, Dr. Mary Headrick, reports Chris Carroll.
“Publish that number — let Chuck Fleischmann put his guard down,” Headrick said in a phone interview Wednesday. “Let him think I’m not going to do any TV ads or any big things. Let him relax and think he’s got it won.”
A conservative freshman congressman who fended off a popular dairy executive and a political scion in August’s Republican primary, Fleischmann reported $106,075 in general election contributions through July 13. Very little of that has been spent.
Meanwhile, Headrick said she has about $13,000 in the bank with two months before the Nov. 6 election.
“That’s 13 with three zeroes,” said Headrick, an acute-care physician whose top campaign goal is ridding politics of money’s influence. “Not four zeroes or five zeroes.”
…But Headrick is challenging the conventional wisdom, banking on a grass-roots strategy that leaves almost no room for the big bucks.
“Everyone says I can’t win this on $100,000, but that’s what I think it should cost,” she said. “If it costs a lot more than that, it’s prohibitive for everyday people who want to make a change.”
With upcoming fundraisers aimed at teachers and union workers, Headrick hopes to become financially competitive. But the already substantial donation gulf could widen if Fleischmann’s team approaches donors to his Republican primary opponents, Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp, who raised $1.4 million between them in a shared quest for Congress.
“We took a breather after the election, and the [Republican National Convention] kept us busy,” Fleischmann campaign manager Tyler Threadgill said, “but we’ll be ramping up soon.”

Fleischmann, Headrick on Akin Comments

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann strongly disagrees with recent comments made by a Missouri colleague over the improbability of rape victims getting pregnant, but the Chattanooga Republican remains a staunch abortion opponent, according to the Chattanooga TFP.
“Chuck believes the comment made by Congressman [Todd] Akin was flat-out wrong and not factual,” Fleischmann spokesman Jordan Powell said in an email Thursday.
However, Powell said, Fleischmann “voted to prevent taxpayer funds from being used for abortion-related costs, and will continue to stand for the sanctity of human life every time he has the chance.”
…Fleischmann’s Democratic opponent in the 3rd Congressional District, Dr. Mary Headrick, rejected Akin’s original statement that women who are victims of violent rape can’t get pregnant as “ludicrous.”
Headrick, a Maynardville, Tenn., physician who practices internal medicine in a rural setting, said she is often called to administer rape kits to possible victims because women and teens feel more comfortable with a female physician.
While emphasizing she had not read the original bill in its entirety, Headrick strongly objected to the phrase “forcible rape.”
“That’s outrageous,” Headrick said. “I’ve had 14-year-olds who have been impregnated by 23-year-olds and that’s rape. It doesn’t matter if she was consenting.”
Headrick said you “have to presume that when a female is underage she doesn’t know how to avoid the sexual activity and you leave her alone. It’s rape. And that adjective ‘forcible’ is just infuriating.”

DesJarlais, Fleischmann: Went on the Trip, But Didn’t Skinny Dip

U.S. Reps. Scott DesJarlais and Chuck Fleischmann said today they did not participate in or witness a late-night swim in Israel last year in which one lawmaker disrobed and jumped into the Sea of Galilee and others shed some of their clothing to go frolicking in the water.
Ditto with Rep. Stephen Fincher: “It was unfortunate that the behavior of some folks was not acceptable,” Fincher said Monday. “While this was going on, I was doing one of my favorite things — having dinner with my wife. More HERE.
Further on the DesJarlais/Fleischmann fromt from Michael Collins.
Both East Tennessee lawmakers were on the fact-finding trip to Israel with other freshman members of Congress and their families. But they said they did not participate in the questionable swim, which, according to a published report, may have been fueled by alcohol consumption and led to an FBI inquiry.
“While the congressman was on the trip to Israel reinforcing our nation’s relationship with this important ally, he was not involved in the incident in question,” said DesJarlais’ spokesman, Robert Jameson.
Asked if the Jasper Republican had witnessed the activity, Jameson said, “The congressman did not see the incident.”

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Debate Begins Over Debates in 3rd, 4th Congressional Districts

Fourth Congressional District Democratic nominee and state Sen. Eric Stewart, D-Belvedere, on Tuesday challenged U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais to three debates “over the next month” in advance of the Nov. 6 election.
More from Chris Carroll:
DesJarlais did not agree immediately, so Stewart asked the freshman congressman to email a response to his campaign before Monday.
Stewart probably won’t receive a friendly reply. DesJarlais campaign spokesman Brandon Lewis on Wednesday said the congressman believes “it’s very early in the process to be discussing debates.”
“[We] intend to focus our time on meeting people throughout the district,” Lewis said.
It’s a little different in the 3rd District, where both nominees — Republican incumbent Fleischmann and Democratic challenger Dr. Mary Headrick — have promised to debate each other.
But there are nuances behind the agreement.
It’s a little different in the 3rd District, where both nominees — Republican incumbent Fleischmann and Democratic challenger Dr. Mary Headrick — have promised to debate each other.
But there are nuances behind the agreement.
Headrick, a Maynardville, Tenn., acute-care physician, said it’s important to have “three to five subject-oriented” debates throughout the 3rd District, which joins Chattanooga and Oak Ridge with rural areas in 11 counties all the way to the Kentucky border.
“Urban and rural have different needs,” she said. “Your most informed voters will either read about or listen to these debates, so we need to do several.”
But Fleischmann campaign spokesman Jordan Powell said the congressman only promised to debate Headrick. Fleischmann never said how many times, Powell said, so a single debate is possible.
“He pledged to debate her,” Powell said. “Outside of that, we’ve got our own campaign to run and Chuck’s got to do his job in Washington. There’s still a lot to figure out.”

TN Political News Notes, 8/01/12

Silence on Chuck’s Stalled Bills
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann enjoys telling voters about legislation he has introduced to freeze government spending, eliminate capital gains taxes and abolish “wasteful” federal programs. However, the Ooltewah Republican never tells campaign audiences that his legislative output — six resolutions in all — has stalled in various House committees. Story HERE.
Cohen Offers Voter Advice
Some involved in Shelby County school board races are riled at U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen for endorsing candidates in Memphis-specific races he says had the “foresight” to vote against dissolving Memphis City Schools to force Shelby County schools consolidation. HERE.
Property Assessor Plans False Arrest Lawsuit
Rutherford County Republican Property Assessor Bill Boner said he has until Friday, the day after the election, to turn himself in to authorities on a sign vandalism accusation.
“I’m going to file a false arrest lawsuit,” Boner said during an interview at his property assessor office Tuesday. HERE.
Knox Fundraising
State Sen. Becky Duncan Massey has $166,344 in her campaign chest with no opponent going into Thursday’s Republican primary, while Evelyn Gill, the only Democrat in the race for the 6th District post, has $1,927.. Part of a roundup on campaign balances of Knox County legislative candidates, HERE.
Anderson County’s High-Spending Mayor’s Race
An unprecedented amount of campaign money (into six figures) is being spent in a special election for Anderson County mayor, the county’s administrator of elections said. HERE.
Editorial Bashes Vital
Start of a Chattanooga Free Press editorial: Another day, another allegation of dirty campaigning against Greg Vital. On July 25, this page endorsed Vital in the Republican primary for the open 10th District state Senate seat, but we expressed our concern about his “win-at-all-cost mentality.” Since that time, that win-at-all-cost attitude has turned Vital from a promising candidate into a loathsome embarrassment. HERE.

Huckabee Raises Some Eyebrows (and some Wamp scoffing)

There were signs that the Republican big tent is fraying at the Statesmen’s Dinner, though the theme was unity and about $500,000 was raised, reports Andy Sher.
Even the choice of the dinner’s keynote speaker — former Arkansas governor and 2008 GOP presidential nominee Mike Huckabee — raised some eyebrows.
Huckabee supported U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., in the 3rd Congressional District 2010 GOP primary. This year, the freshman Chattanooga lawmaker faces spirited challenges from Weston Wamp, of Chattanooga, and Scottie Mayfield, of Athens.
Last week, Huckabee appeared in a new Fleischmann television ad, and they were set to tour the 3rd District before Fleischmann had to cancel so he could get back to Washington for an unexpected vote.
In a statement two days before Huckabee’s speech, Wamp scoffed that “Mike Huckabee’s credibility in Tennessee’s 3rd District is questionable based on his long-standing relationship with Chuck Fleischmann’s chief of staff and political operative, Chip Saltsman.”
He said Huckabee’s “public support of Chuck Fleischmann is a prime example of the ‘back-scratching’ that is part of the problem in Washington.”
Saltsman, a former state GOP chairman, was national manager of Huckabee’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Neither Wamp nor Mayfield attended the Statesmen’s Dinner.
Huckabee, now a talk show host on Fox News, devoted most of his speech to criticizing President Obama and praising presumed GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Huckabee did urge attendees to “enthusiastically” make sure “Mitt Romney is our next president, [U.S. Sen.] Bob Corker returns to the Senate [and] these outstanding members of your congressional delegation.”
But he didn’t mention any congressman by name.
Republican Lou Ann Zelenik, who is battling to defeat U.S. Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., in the 6th District primary, said she didn’t take any offense.
“He’s just bringing his great inspiring message here, and I love him,” she said.
Devaney said he invited Huckabee because he won the 2008 GOP presidential primary in Tennessee, was available to speak and is a popular host on Fox News.
“We had our thing booked first and they [Fleischmann campaign] decided to do, I guess, this endorsement tour,” Devaney said. “But ours was booked first. No, there wasn’t any coordination.”
Fleischmann said he had nothing to do with Huckabee’s invitation to speak at the dinner. He said he doesn’t see his rivals running because they object to his conservative stances on fiscal and social issues.