Wamp Event’s Big Bucks Raise Eyebrows

Posted December 7, 2011 at 7:30pm

Congressional hopeful Weston Wamp, the son of former Rep. Zach Wamp (R-Tenn.), said he raised more than $250,000 at a fundraiser Monday night. A spokesman confirmed that total was in donations actually collected.

“People see me as something uniquely different,” Wamp told Roll Call in an interview.

Wamp, 24, is taking on freshman Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, 49, in the GOP primary. Fleischmann won the 3rd district seat when Zach Wamp left to run unsuccessfully for governor.

“We had about 130 people on hand,” the younger Wamp said of his fundraiser. “You literally had businesspeople from their 20s to their 70s in the room even on a rainy night in Chattanooga.”

When pressed on why he wanted to unseat Fleischmann, Wamp at first demurred.

“I didn’t make the decision to run for Congress because of anything the current Representative has done or didn’t do,” he said. Wamp explained he thought the country would benefit from more young leaders.

Eventually, however, he got to the crux of his criticism, arguing that Fleischmann was part of the “status quo in Washington that is recognized by people of all political backgrounds as broken. And I’m a young conservative, but I’m not a partisan.”

He faces an uphill battle in unseating an incumbent. Fleischmann had $352,000 in cash on hand at the end of September. The Congressman raised $136,000 in the third quarter.

Fleischmann’s office declined to comment.

Redistricting has yet to be completed in Tennessee, but the district is likely to remain staunchly Republican.