A 47-year-old Chattanooga personal-injury attorney born in New York City will replace outgoing Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN) in the U.S. Congress when the new term begins early next year.
Charles “Chuck” Fleischmann coasted to an easy victory Tuesday over Democrat John Wolfe and other candidates, despite charges lobbed by his rivals that he had used his personal fortune to buy the coveted political seat.
Of the $1.9 million raised by the Fleischmann campaign, the candidate himself chipped in a whopping $1.3 – more than $2 for every man, woman and child in the 3rd District.
But Mr. Fleischmann, when he appeared at 9:25 p.m. to claim victory, told supporters he could not have done it without them.
"What a long run this has been . . . but we are poised for a great victory," he told the jubilant crowd at the Doubletree Hotel. "We're carrying all across the third district."
By 8:45 p.m. - less than an hour after the polls closed, with just 5 percent of the vote counted - official tallies showed the attorney with 62 percent, compared to Democrat Wolfe's 27 percent.
The remaining votes were split between an array of opponents including political newcomer Savas Kyriakidis, who had joined other Fleischman critics in charging that money throughout the campaign - not expertise or conservative philosophy - was responsible for the GOP nominee's comfortable lead in the polls.
Born in 1962 in New York City, Fleischmann came to Tennessee in the mid-1980s to study law at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Following graduation he and his wife Brenda started their own personal-injury law firm, Fleischmann and Fleischmann, in Chattanooga.
In 1996 he was elected president of the Chattanooga Bar Association.
Mr. DeVol and Mr. Kyriakidis, a Chattanooga restaurant owner, split the Independent vote, and did not come close to pulling off the upset.
Mr. Fleischmann had won a close race over former state GOP Chairman Robin Smith of Hixson in a bitter primary contest.
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney said, "I congratulate Chuck Fleischmann, his family and his campaign on their victory tonight. Starting in January, Rep.-Elect Fleischmann is going to be my Congressman and I look forward to his conservative leadership on the Third District's behalf."
Vote totals were:
Chuck Fleischmann - R 91891
John Wolfe - D 45345
Don Barkman - I 810
Mark DeVol - I 5768
Gregory C. Goodwin - I 376
Robert Humphries - I 380
Mo Kiah - I 214
Savas T. Kyriakidis - I 17074
Chuck Fleischmann 41499 48.11%
John Wolfe 27848 32.28%
Don Barkman 295 0.34%
Mark DeVol 1935 2.24%
Gregory C. Goodwin 131 0.15%
Robert Humphries 133 0.15%
Mo Kiah 87 0.10%
Savas T. Kyriakidis 14078 16.32%
Write-in Votes 260 0.30%
Mr. Fleischmann won in Bradley County.
7943 3438 0 11381 71.85% Chuck Fleischmann (R)
1725 905 0 2630 16.60% John Wolfe (D) 42 35 0 77 0.49% Don Barkman (I) 493 215 0 708 4.47% Mark Devol (I) 18 11 0 29 0.18% Gregory C. Goodwin (I) 21 13 0 34 0.21% Robert Humphries (I) 19 7 0 26 0.16% Mo Kiah (I) 486 447 0 933 5.89% Savas T. Kyriakidis (I) 18 3 0 21 0.13% Write-In
Rep. Tommie Brown was a winner over Republican challenger Teresa Wood in House District 28.
Teresa Wood 2869 28.25%
Tommie F. Brown 7248 71.38%
Write-in Votes 37 0.36%
Unopposed were state Senator Bo Watson and state House members Republicans Gerald McCormick, Jim Cobb, Richard Floyd and Vince Dean and Democrat JoAnne Favors.