U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and his wife, Brenda, contributed a combined $605 to President Barack Obama’s inaugural committee, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Political observers may find the donations unusual because the Ooltewah Republican supported Mitt Romney and generally lines up against Obama whenever possible.
Records show Fleischmann was the only Tennessean in Congress to give at least $200 to the president’s second-term kickoff. Even the Volunteer State’s two congressional Democrats aren’t listed in the report naming inaugural donors, who gave more than $43 million.
Fleischmann contributed $300 and his wife donated $305. It’s possible that other Volunteer State lawmakers pitched in. People who gave $200 or less did not have contributions documented and itemized in Federal Election Commission records.
A Fleischmann aide acknowledged the donations Tuesday in a statement to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
“Congressman Fleischmann’s record shows that he fervently opposes the President at practically every turn,” Fleischmann spokesman Tyler Threadgill said in a written statement. “However, in the spirit of democracy he and his wife did attend a bipartisan event as part of the inaugural ceremonies.”
Threadgill said Fleischmann’s contributions covered the cost of two tickets for an official inauguration event. He said he didn’t know specifics beyond that.
Chuck Rated No. 3 by WaPo
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann is ranked No. 3 on The Washington Post’s list of the top 10 House incumbents who could lose their primaries this year (H/T Chattanooga TFP). Here’s the relevant paragraph of the list (which fails to mention the third major GOP candidate, dairy heir Scottie Mayfield): 3.. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn): Fleischmann won this east Tennessee seat in 2010 when then-Rep. Zach Wamp ran unsuccessfully for governor. But now he faces a serious primary challenge from another Wamp — Weston Wamp, the 25-year-old son of the former congressman. Wamp’s last name and his father’s connections in Washington ensure he will be a well-known and well-funded opponent for the still-new-to-Washington Fleischmann. Something to Crowe About?
Robert Houk writes in his weekly column that Sen. Rusty Crowe, senior member of the Northeast Tennessee delegation to the state General Assembly with 22 experience in Nashville, Crowe has “just about seen and done it all” – or thought so until this year. Crowe has managed to emerge from each battle unscathed and a little bit wiser. Yes, he’s seen a lot as a state senator, but even Crowe admits he has never seen anything like the “polarizing” debate about to come on the so-called “guns in parking lots” bill Bizarro World
Frank Cagle begins a column on the effort to make teacher evaluations secret by recalling that value-added testing scores have been secret for a couple of decades now – though the original intent was to make them open after the procedure was well established.
His opening line: Sometime I think I’ve entered Bizarro World when I view public policy issues being argued in the Tennessee Legislature. Targeted Fundraising
On Saturday, the final day of a political fundraising quarter that included a $2,500-per-plate dinner for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., Democratic challenger Bill Taylor invited donors to shoot guns for 100 times less, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Taylor hosted his “Candidate Shootout Challenge” Saturday at Shooter’s Depot in Chattanooga, daring people to fire eight rounds with him in exchange for a $25 campaign donation. The gist of the Second Amendment agreement: If Taylor hit the bull’s eye more often than his donor, the donor owed the campaign an extra $10.
Taylor and Maynardville, Tenn., physician Mary Headrick are competing for the Democratic nomination in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District in the Aug. 2 primary… An Ooltewah resident who manages physician offices, Taylor said he raised about $1,000 Saturday, adding that some donors gave him “a lot more” than his campaign asked for
Scottie Mayfield, the 61-year-old president of Mayfield Dairy in Athens, saidd Wednesday he is considering a run against U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn. “It’s a heck of a responsibility,” Scottie Mayfield said Wednesday. “Somebody’s going to allow me to look at a congressional schedule, what a member of Congress does every day of their life.”
The news adds a tantalizing scoop to an already flavorful Republican primary for the 3rd District race.
He said he would decide within two weeks. The dairy mogul said he gathered family and friends around his dining room table Wednesday to discuss issues and explore possibilities. He said he may use Mayfield’s 1,800 employees as an informal focus group
. “I’ve got to make sure that’s not against company policy first,” he said with a laugh. Mayfield said his own business expertise is needed in Congress, but also said “it’s hard to be real critical” of Fleischmann.
Asked what he would fight for in Washington, Mayfield said jobs and reducing the national debt, but did not elaborate.
News releases from some of our state’s representatives in Washington: From U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais
WASHINGTON, DC – Representative Scott DesJarlais (TN-04) issued the following statement upon the announcement that the House and Senate have reached a deal to extend the payroll tax break for two months:
“The House passed a responsible, bipartisan bill that provided a year-long payroll tax reduction; extended and reformed unemployment insurance; preserved senior’s access to healthcare by preventing a 27% cut to doctors treating Medicare patients; and advanced measures that will boost private-sector job creation.
“Rather than use this bill as a template to work from, the Senate simply refused to take part in the normal legislative process. It is disappointing that since the Senate failed to do their job, we will now have to have this debate again in two months. I will continue to fight for long-term solutions that will provide economic certainty for both American workers and American businesses.”
A few paid staffers for U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann helped the incumbent topple his two primary challengers at the Anderson County Republican Party straw poll Tuesday night, reports the Chattanooga TFP. Fleischmann spokesman Jordan Powell confirmed that field representative Arch Trimble IV and caseworker Adria Tutton attended the straw poll, proved 3rd Congressional District residence and paid the required $5 fee to vote, along with “a few others who went on their own time.”
“There were staffers that went after work to support Chuck, but there were a lot of [other] people at that straw poll that voted for Chuck,” Powell said.
According to the Anderson County party website, Fleischmann won 65 percent of the vote, Jean Howard-Hill received 28 percent and Weston Wamp took home 7 percent.
But exact figures were unavailable. Anderson County Republican Party Chairman Alex Moseley estimated a crowd of 150 voted in a variety of races. He said “about 60 percent” were allowed to choose a House candidate after proving they lived in the 3rd Congressional District.
…Fleischmann’s camp stressed that Howard-Hill and Wamp appeared at the straw poll, brought staff and made 10-minute speeches, facts the Times Free Press confirmed.
The congressman did not attend — he was in Washington — and while staff was present, no one made a speech on his behalf. It’s unclear whether Fleischmann’s campaign workers lobbied on behalf of their boss.
Wamp, the 24-year-old son of eight-term U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, said he brought his sister, one paid staffer and a campaign volunteer, adding that all four declined to vote. He called the $5 fee “a modern-day poll tax.” Moseley said the money paid for renting the event’s location.
“In my life I’ve seen all the political games there are,” Wamp said. “In this campaign, I’m going to choose not to play the political games. We’re not going to buy straw poll victories.”
In a Sunday article, the Chattanooga Times-Free Press observes that Republican congressional candidates are following the same script in campaign rhetoric. That’s especially true in Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District, where U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann and his famously surnamed challenger, Weston Wamp, are discussing jobs, taxes and regulations in language that is nearly identical.
According to their campaign websites, both Republicans oppose regulations on small businesses and support a “complete overhaul” of the nation’s tax code. Neither man offers specifics.
As for jobs, allow the candidates to explain.
Fleischmann: “We do not need more government intervention.” Wamp: “Government is too big and cannot create jobs.”
With so much agreement, why challenge the incumbent?
“The information on my website is intended to give voters a basic understanding of where I fall on the political spectrum,” Wamp said Friday. “We’re both conservatives, we’re both Republicans, but the way we’ll go about finding solutions, in some ways, couldn’t be more different.”
Wamp said he would “be more prescriptive” about his differences as the campaign progresses, citing his support of a flat tax and bipartisanship as examples. Through a spokesman, Fleischmann declined comment, a strategy he has embraced since the 24-year-old Wamp entered the race.