Congressional race roundup, District Three

With redistricting all but finished (caveat: lawsuits could be filed) and the official start to the August primary election season just over a week away, it’s time to check-in on recent happenings around the state. Some congressional districts have been rather dormant, like those in the northeastern corner of the state, while others are heading for a tempestuous election year.

District 3

The 3rd District race got a shake-up this week when Scottie Mayfield, president of the eponymous Athens, Tenn. dairy company, announced that he is seriously considering (and, if you ask me, with an emphasis on “seriously”) jumping into the race as a Republican. I take an initial look at the potential impacts in my latest Nooga.com column.

Meanwhile, incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann showed the first signs of being a candidate for re-election this week by naming Tom Decosimo as campaign treasurer. (Fleischmann’s typical response to inquiries about the race to date, save a professed enjoyment of ice cream sandwiches, has been that he is focused on doing his job serving the people of the district.)

Weston Wamp has generally been quiet of late in the local news media, ever since he gave the Pulse interview. But he was the subject of a feature in venerable Beltway publication The Hill, so there’s that.

Democrats in Hamilton County (the largest in the district) got to meet the two candidates who are vying for the chance to take on the Republican nominee in November. Dr. Mary Headrick and Bill Taylor both focused on the idea that Congress is “broken” and needs to be restocked with individuals who would truly represent their districts.

L-R: Democratic candidates Rick Wilson, Mitzi Yates, Bill Taylor, Mary Headrick. Taylor and Headrick are running for Congress. Contributed photo.

With all this attention on Fleischmann, Wamp, and Mayfield, the other GOP candidates—Ron Bhalla and Jean Howard-Hill—are struggling to maintain their profiles.

And finally, a few fourth quarter fundraising numbers are out ahead of the reporting deadline. Here are the two leading GOP candidates’ cash-on-hand totals:

  1. Fleischmann: $617,323
  2. Wamp: $285,141

Though there is an obvious gap between the frontrunner and the challenger, the two men raised roughly equal amounts during the quarter. Much more information is available on these two campaign finance releases in Chris Carroll’s Times Free Press article.

The federal filing deadline for Year-End 2011 is January 31.

As a teaser for the 4th and 8th District roundups (on their way): the Third is shaping up to be the most interesting congressional race in the state by far. In 2010 we had competition with other open seats that changed party hands, but things will be somewhat quieter in those districts this time around. There could be surprises, though. Stay tuned.

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