Reps. Fleischmann, Black Win Contested Tenn. GOP Primaries
Freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., won a contested primary in Tennessee's 3rd Congressional District Thursday night, likely securing a second term in a safe Republican seat.
With 81 percent of precincts reporting, Fleischmann led Scottie Mayfield, his nearest challenger, 39 percent to 31 percent. The Associated Press called the race for Fleischmann. Weston Wamp, the son of the former representative from the 3rd District, was in third with 29 percent, with a fourth candidate bringing up the rear.
After winning the incumbent-less 2010 GOP primary with just 30 percent of the vote in an 11-candidate field, Fleischmann was seen as vulnerable from the get-go, given his lack of a mandate with the district's Republican base. Mayfield, whose well-known family runs a local dairy empire, was seen as a very serious challenger earlier in the cycle.
But Mayfield crippled his own candidacy by refusing to detail policy positions and skipping debates and forums, leading to widespread ridicule from the other candidates and the press. Wamp, who turned 25 during the primary campaign, ran interesting TV ads but failed to gain traction. Fleischmann, with his primary win, has cemented a path back to Congress from a reliable Republican seat.