Attorney and GOP activist Wes Kliner told the Pachyderm Club on Monday that media coverage affected races for the 10th Senate District and for General Sessions Court judge.
He cited a "scathing editorial" in the Chattanooga Times Free Press against GOP candidate Greg Vital in the Senate contest. He said, "That probably had a dramatic effect on what happened on election day." Todd Gardenhire had a 39-vote advantage at last count in that race.
Mr. Kliner said a media focus on health problems suffered by Judge David Norton probably hurt his chances. Attorney Gary Starnes won by a large margin. "Probably a lot of that was due to articles on David's health. David's a super nice guy, but that had an effect," he said.
He said attorney Starnes "ran a very aggressive campaign. He had a good team behind him and he was out there battling all the time."
The speaker said he was highly impressed by the write-in campaign for School Board District 2 by Mike Harvey in which he polled 30.8 percent of the vote. Jonathan Welch, the only candidate on the ballot, won. Mr. Kliner said, "I've never seen a write-in candidate do that well. Next time he may want to pull a petition and get on the ballot."
Mr. Kliner said Rep. Chuck Fleishmann, who won his race, "got negative near the end. But it was not nearly as negative as two years ago" when he was in a battle with Robin Smith.
He said Weston Wamp, 25-year-old son of former Rep. Zach Wamp, "finished strong", doing better on election day than in early voting, including winning Hamilton County. Mr. Kliner said, "Hopefully, next time he will run an earlier campaign. Early voting is a trend that is here to stay."
Mr. Kliner said Mr. Wamp "was very aggressive. He was out there hitting it hard. He's a dynamic candidate. I think he's got a strong future."
Of Scottie Mayfield, he said he "probably needed advisors with a little more experience." He said, looking back, "there are probably things he should have done differently."