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Monday, October 03, 2005

TN-03: Zach Wamp's New Challenger is a Vietnam Vet

Posted by DavidNYC

Zach Wamp, a big-time Republican player in the House and currently Congressman for Tennessee's third district, has gotten himself a new challenger, Vietnam veteran Terry Stulce. I don't know much about Stulce beyond what's on his website, but I can tell you this:

• Wamp is gunning for the third-highest leadership position in the House, majority whip. E.J. Dionne thinks Wamp could actually reform the GOP's culture of corruption. I think this inside baseball will be lost on the average voter, and if we successfully (and rightly) highlight the entire Republican Pary's corruption, Wamp will only be inviting a more glaring spotlight if he moves up the ranks. Oh, and he's just as corrupt as the rest of them - see below.

• Wamp, one of the 1994 Republican Revolutionaries, promised to serve only six terms - meaning his time would be up next fall. Of course, he's reneging on that promise. What, twelve years isn't enough?

Wamp's a carpetbagger. Originally from Georgia, went to college in North Carolina - and then flunked out in 1980.

• While we're talking about college, check this: Zach Wamp lied under oath about whether he had graduated. The way I was raised, you just don't do that.

• Wamp was once convicted for check kiting. I kid you not. So we've moved from liar to criminal. (And he lied about this, too, on an official real estate application.)

• Wamp has admitted to what the media likes to call "a problem with cocaine" in his past. As I hardly need to remind anyone, poor black men go to jail for stuff like this. Well-off white guys like Wamp go to rehab.

I dug up the last set of items from Lexis - almost all mentions of Wamp's various lies and run-ins with the law dropped from conversation in the past decade. The last time these things got any serious airing was in 1994 - in other words, pretty much pre-web. Lexis is the ultimate bulwark against things disappearing down the memory hole, though. Wamp can't hide from his unsavory past.

One last thing, Kossack and Congressional expert Superribbie makes the following point:

Tennesee's 3d is the one GOP-held district in the state we have a shot at winning. It is a 41.3% Dem district (Gore got 42% and Kerry 38%), but with a history of supporting Dems. Wamp won 66-34 the last two times against a placeholder.

If Terry Stulce can capitalize on all of this, we could make life pretty miserable for Zach Wamp.

Posted at 01:55 PM in Tennessee | Technorati

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If nothing else, this continues to drain money away from larger, more competitive races. A few ads pointing out his illegal activities will have to be answered by multiple defend and attack ads. In addition, he and everyone he pays will have to be on the ground in their own district.

Posted by: chuckles [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2005 03:33 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

If memory serves me, TN-03 is the Chattanooga area. That's more winnable for Dems than Knoxville or the Johnson City-Kingsport-Bristol area of east Tennessee. Wamp will be a Goliath to take down, but like my representative Gil Gutknecht, his broken pledge for a self-imposed term limit plays into the GOP "culture of corruption and arrogance" theme we're trying to sell.

Posted by: Mark [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 3, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

My own research shows Wamp was born in Georgia while his dad was stationed in the military there and the family moved to Chattanooga (hardly a carpetbagger)...Wamp was NOT convicted of "check-kiting". He bounced 2 checks, as many a college student has done, and paid them. He realized he had a drug problem when he was younger and checked himself in to a rehab program, as you would hope others who struggle with various addictions could and would do to get their life back on track.

Posted by: anon [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 6, 2005 02:10 PM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment

When Zach Wamp was running for his first term in 1994, I served on a community substanced abuse coalition with him. On more than one occassion he told me directly that he advocated the decriminalization of marijuana for small quantities and that, if elected, he intended to introduce legislation to this effect. Based on what I already knew about him and on my subjective impression of him, I did not believe him then, and his record clearly indicates that I was right. The closest thing even mentioned in his voting record was voting AGAINST the legalization of medical marijuana in DC.

He seems to be the typical politician who will say whatever at the time is likely to gain favor to whatever audience he is addressing. Also, witness his sudden emphasis on local issues over national ones now that his rubber-stamp record with George W. Bush isn't so popular.

Posted by: Tennesse Dog [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 10, 2006 09:05 AM | Permalink | Edit Comment | Delete Comment