Tag Archives: Robin Smith

GOP committeeman, state party resolve lawsuit

Ever since the 2010 Republican primary in Tennessee’s Third Congressional District, a contentious cloud has hovered after a staffer for one candidate sued the campaign manager of another. Now it appears that at least one corner of that cloud has lifted.

Mark Winslow alleged in a lawsuit that Chip Saltsman, a former state party chair who at the time was campaign manager for Chuck Fleischmann, had illegitimately obtained confidential documents related to Winslow’s employment at the party when his candidate boss, Robin Smith, was the party boss.

The documents were used in a campaign ad that attacked Smith.

Later, Winslow added the Tennessee Republican Party to the suit. That component of the legal battle has, according to the statement below, been resolved; but there is no indication at this time that the suit against Saltsman and Fleischmann has been dropped or otherwise affected.

Here’s the press release:

NASHVILLE, Tenn.–Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney released the following statement regarding a lawsuit that was filed against the Party:

“The Tennessee Republican Party has reached an agreement with Mark Winslow to resolve the issues raised in his lawsuit against the Party. Upon my election as Chairman in 2009 I decided to hire a staff of my own choosing. Because Mark had an employment agreement through the end of the year we negotiated a severance agreement that included a confidentiality clause. Documents from his confidential personnel file later became public and were used in political advertising. Mark contends that these documents were misused and neither I nor the Party would have or did authorize their release. Mark has been a loyal Republican and a valued member of the State Executive Committee. I am pleased we have reached an amicable resolution of this unfortunate matter and look forward to Mark’s continuing good work for the Party and our principles. I encourage all of my fellow Republicans to join me in putting this episode behind us.”

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann’s office did not immediately return a request for a response.

A redistricting hint

In Robin Smith’s comments on talk radio this morning, she observed that Tennessee’s Third District, after redistricting, would be “very favorable” towards a challenger to the incumbent. She alluded to the idea that there would be only one mass media market—that would be Chattanooga—instead of the current multiple markets where it’s necessary to purchase campaign messaging.

Political analysts have concluded that one of the reasons U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann was able to defeat Smith was his strong showing in the northern counties of the current district, particularly in Anderson County.

Anderson, and its primary municipality Oak Ridge, are of course within the Knoxville broadcasting area, as are several of the other counties that lie past the extremely narrow strip that connects the two ends of the district.

You can be sure that current and potential challengers are looking at this information, and are assessing how a reconfigured district that is more concisely centered on Hamilton County could help them.

Of course, until the maps are revealed, and approved by the Legislature, all of this is talk. But something tells me that it’s not purely idle talk.

Robin Smith not running

Robin Smith says she will not run for the 3rd District Congressional seat but will focus on her consulting business. More to come.

UPDATE 2: Weston Wamp, the young son of former U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp (who was in office until early this calendar year), has entered the race to challenge incumbent U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, and has attracted a fair showing of support.

Dr. Jean Howard-Hill rounds out the slate, as she is repeating her 2010 run for the GOP nomination.

Chattanooga attorney J.B. Bennett, Maj. Savas Kyriakidis (who ran as an independent in 2010), and former Tennessee College Republicans chair Tres Wittum are reportedly considering a run in this primary as well.

To date, no Democrats, independents, or third party candidates have declared in this race.

Candidates have until April to qualify for the August 2012 primary. The general election will be held on November 6, 2012.

UPDATE 1: The press release from Smith:

Chattanooga, TN- Robin Smith, 2010 Republican candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in an 11-candidate primary field, announced today her plans do not include pursuing the GOP nomination in next year’s primary race in August. “I will not run for the 3rd District Congressional seat in 2012,” Smith told WGOW’s Morning Press host team. “While every conversation I have had with supporters, advisors, and donors has been incredibly encouraging to run again, opportunities in the private sector and in working in the area of public policy are available that may never materialize again,” Smith continued.
The former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman that turned Tennessee “a deeper shade of red” in the unprecedented elections of 2008 ran in the open-seat vacated by former Congressman Zach Wamp in his run for Tennessee’s Governor. Smith raised approximately $723,000 from individual donors and conservative organizations losing by fewer than 1500 votes in the expansive district including parts of eleven counties, touching four separate states. “The new district that will result from the 2012 redistricting process will most likely be a very favorable district for a challenger to run against a newly-elected incumbent. However, the private sector opportunities could not wait until January’s unveiling of the new district lines,” Smith noted.
Responding to inquiries if this was an indication of her exit from politics, Mrs. Smith, quipped, “Ironically, a future run against candidates with a record versus the vagueness of blank slates may prove much easier. I’ve never been known to run for cover.”
With over twenty-one years of grassroots politics as her platform, Robin Smith highlighted her continued commitment to servant leadership: “Since toting a 6-month-old daughter on my hip as I volunteered in local politics, there has been one driving factor that remains my driving force…serve others with integrity and produce results that provide a lasting impact. Institutions are only as strong and honorable as those who serve.” Offering a bit of advice draped in humor, Smith concluded, “My kids know that I’ve never asked of anyone that which I wasn’t first willing to do. In other words, servant leadership leaves a legacy; climbing the ladder leaves tread marks!”

Robin Smith: I’ve decided to announce what I’ve decided

Robin Smith will make her congressional intentions known on the popular morning talk radio program “Fred the Show” “The Morning Press” on Friday, December 2 at 8:30 a.m. A clip from her media announcement follows:

The former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman, having served for over two decades in grassroots politics, ran in the 3rd Congressional District open primary of 2010. Losing by less than 1500 votes in the district that touches four state lines and includes parts of eleven counties, Smith has been in an active process of meeting with advisors and supporters to make her decision about a second run for Congress. The Robin Smith for Congress campaign raised approximately $723,000 during the 2010 primary election from individual supporters and conservative organizations.

There’s also been (very unsubstantiated) talk about Smith possibly seeking a state House of Representatives seat instead.

Of course, the third option is that she decides not to run for any office at this time.

Analysis of the 3rd District race will follow shortly after the announcement. (Like, in the next day or two.)

UPDATE 2: The decision.

(Updated 12/2 to correct the name of the radio program.)