Freshman Congressman Chuck Fleischmann, whose 3rd District includes Oak Ridge and several counties north of Knoxville, expected a primary challenge for a second term—but it didn’t come from his principal rival in 2010, former state Republican Chair Robin Smith. Smith has said she will not oppose Fleischmann.
Instead, the congressman is getting a challenge from young Weston Wamp, who is expected to be old enough to qualify for the post by Election Day. The son of Zach Wamp, a 16-year incumbent who ran for governor last year rather than seek another congressional term, may be a formidable opponent. He had a fund-raiser and reports a haul of $250,000, a record amount for a single fund-raiser in the 3rd District. And people voted for “Wamp” in the district eight times before Zach gave up the seat.
Not that Fleischmann will be hurting for money. He had a fund-raiser with House Speaker John Boehner and raised $200,000. He had earlier raised another $352,000. He is being courted by DOE contractors in Oak Ridge.
Aside from this, Weston Wamp may be vulnerable to attack because father Zach now has a lobbying firm and no doubt had a hand in the record-breaking fund-raiser.
Addendum: Congressmen are forbidden by law to lobby for one year after leaving office. Wamp says he has a “business development firm” and is not a lobbyist.