Weston Wamp's claims put to the truth test

Weston Wamp's claims about 3rd District opponent Rep. Chuck Fleischmann put to the truth test

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Weston Wamp Weston Wamp
Rep Chuck Fleischmann Rep Chuck Fleischmann

By GENE PATTERSON
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - After a tough three-way primary battle two years ago, 3rd District Congressman Chuck Fleischmann finds himself primaried again.

Last week, Weston Wamp, who waged a losing fight in the last election, announced he is running again and lambasted Fleischmann as ineffective.

6 News put Wamp's claims to the truth test Wednesday.

Flanked by his new bride Shelby last Monday in Anderson County, Weston Wamp complained that two-term Congressman Chuck Fleischmann had done little to change the culture in Washington.

"The truth is, three and a half years into his service in Washington and the best way to describe his service is he's going with the flow," said Wamp.

If voting with your party is the definition of "going with the flow" then the statement is true.

According to www.opengovernment.gov, Fleischmann voted with his party 97 percent of the time, including the ill-fated decision to force affordable healthcare funding from the budget, which resulted in shutting down government.

"He's yet to author a piece of legislation that's become law or even made its way to the House floor," continued Wamp.

We checked with www.govtrack.us and found that this statement is also true.

In his two terms, Fleischmann has authored 19 bills or resolutions, and none have made it to the House floor or become law. 

However, getting a bill to the President's desk is difficult. In the last session, Tennessee's nine House members were only able to get four bills to the floor. Only one of those, a bill to give schools access to epinephrine by Congressman Phil Roe,  became law. 

Fleischmann's office also points out that the Congressman has co-sponsored 16 bills that have passed the House, including measures to repeal Obamacare and build the Keystone XL Pipeline.

"Veterans across the district complain that he's hard to get a hold of. Constituent services could certainly be improved," claimed Wamp.

Wamp says he could do a better job.

"Certainly his office could improve their veterans affairs and veterans outreach. We can do a whole lot better," Wamp said.

Fleischmann's office counters by saying he helped bring two new VA clinics to the area and that he has "supported 22 bills to protect veterans and seniors that have passed the House."

Without a survey of veterans in the district, it's hard to quantify if veterans services could be improved, so we rate it as in dispute.

6 News Political Consultant George Korda wonders about the wisdom of this kind of attack.

"He describes himself as an independent Republican. Now, if you're a staunch Republican voter in a Republican primary, the idea you would vote an independent Republican sounds a little contradictory," said Korda.

Korda says to beat an incumbent Congressman, you can't count on young voters, which Korda believes Wamp is targeting. Even motivated, they tend to turn out in low numbers.

"Fleischmann is the champion. What do you have to do when you're an underdog challenger?  You've got to knock out the champ. So he has to take Fleischmann's knees out from under him and he's not going to do it with this kind of rhetoric," Korda analyzed.

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