With less than two weeks before the Aug. 7th election and the last week of early voting now underway in Hamilton County, Congressional challenger Weston Wamp sounded upbeat and relaxed early yesterday afternoon. “I’m pleased to say that I believe we are right where we need to be … maybe even more than we had hoped.”
Wamp, who is challenging two-term incumbent Chuck Fleishmann for the District 3 Republican nomination, was asked about yet another shameful ploy that the misguided Fleischmann sent out in the form of a postcard. The mailing shows Wamp’s head “PhotoShopped” over a caricature of some cartoon villain setting a passport on fire, the tacky card alleging Weston supports amnesty for illegal immigrants.
“That’s so over the top I almost don’t even think it deserves comment,” Weston said easily. “About three weeks ago we sensed everything was going our way so we’ve been expecting the Mayfield ad and the postcard because this guy (Fleischmann) is pretty desperate. None of the people who matter are endorsing him any longer with his record in Congress being what it is,” he added after both Times Free Press editorials solidly recommended Wamp last week.
“But the problem we’ve got is the fact the 3rd District is really two different groups of people. Chattanooga is wonderfully served by a news media collective that is able to inform the readers and viewers that the claim I am for some sort of free amnesty is simply not true.
“This country has a huge problem with immigration. Do you know about 800 kids from the border arrived in the state over the weekend? I think we need to find some solutions for that but another big problem is our present Congress certainly seems to have failed to do much about it. I’m eager to face our immigration problems and a lot of other things that need attention. That’s the truth.”
“While the people in Chattanooga are smart enough to know the postcard is a hoax, the people who live in the northern part of the district don’t have a big, responsible media outlet so the fear is these people might be led to believe the misleading information,” Weston said. “What’s he going to Photoshop my face on next? We think there are some (campaign) guidelines that say that’s not right but, honestly, nothing (Fleischmann) does comes as much of a surprise right now.”
Wamp’s campaign manager, Marshall Brock, was quoted over the weekend as saying all of Fleischman’s campaigns have been noted for sleaze. “It’s so disappointing,” said Brock. “It’s what they do. It’s not what we do.”
Wamp insisted yesterday his team isn’t going to stoop to Chuck’s level. “All along we’ve said we were going to do things the right way. What’s the old expression? ‘Never get in a fight with a pig – you both get dirty and the pig likes it,’” Weston laughed easily, his calm demeanor telling.
Wamp confirmed that Fleischman had just received a glaring $2,600 donation from Steven B. Smith, the head of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association who is closely connected with the despicable “Big Lick” portion of the industry. Smith and his cronies, you see, are desperately trying to keep the Prevent All Soring Tactics Act from passing in Congress despite the fact that now 305 of 435 members of Congress have endorsed the much-needed bill.
Fleischmann and Tennessee’s other six members of Congress have instead endorsed much weaker legislation in an effort derail the PAST Act and the Tennessee delegation’s radical behavior is absolutely shameful. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Franklin), who authored the alternative bill, was feted at the walking horse Celebration last August where the “Big Lick” allegedly raised $70,000 for her campaign. A similar “fundraiser” was held in 2012 for Rep. Scott DesJarlais (R-Jasper).
What’s worse is that “Steven B.” is the state campaign chairman for Lamar Alexander in his bid for re-election to the Senate and, while 56 of the nation’s senators have now endorsed the “sister bill” to the PAST Act, Alexander quite predictably shunned Senate Bill 1406 to write a watered-down version for the “Big Lick.” Alexander’s bill has five sponsors.
Alexander’s predictable effort was introduced with his “esteemed colleague” and noted “Big Lick” supporter Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has allegedly taken over $100,000 in donations from the “Big Lick” during his tenure and famously once wrote the USDA a fiery letter (copy on file) demanding its inspectors quit harassing the nauseating Shelbyville crowd of scofflaws.
The unspoken fear, of course, is that Alexander and McConnell may try to block the PAST Act in the Senate – despite the fact it has a majority of co-sponsors. Rep. Blackburn is doing the same thing in Congress, this despite the fact that today over 70 percent of bipartisan representatives are now co-sponsors.
I told Weston such things “make me proud to be a ‘Merican” and he laughed, calm and easy, with the reply, “I’m doing all I can to get up there … but we are determined to do it the right way.”