Touting Scottie Mayfield as a job creator, a consultant for the 3rd District congressional candidate responded to statements from opponents expressing their confusion as to why the McMinn County dairy mogul is in the race.
"Experience is the key," said Tommy Hopper, general consultant to the Mayfield campaign. "Scottie is the only candidate with 40 years' experience in small business and creating jobs, and we need real people in Congress to help get our country back on track."
Hopper's comments came after a Chattanooga Times Free Press report described Rep. Chuck Fleischmann as being "confused" upon first glance of a newly published list of Mayfield's stances on issues important to voters in the upcoming primary. Stressing his positions on cutting "wasteful Washington spending," creating jobs and opposing President Barack Obama's health care revamp, the congressman said he found more similarities between his platforms and Mayfield's than differences.
"I'm already practicing what he's preaching," Fleischmann said.
The article prompted a response from another candidate seeking a victory in the Republican primary, Weston Wamp. On Twitter, Wamp, the son of former 3rd District Rep. Zach Wamp, said he agreed with the incumbent.
"I have to agree with Rep. Fleischmann here: I'm also confused about why Mr. Mayfield is running," Wamp said, linking to the article.
Despite the objections, Mayfield has proven to be a serious contender for the 3rd District seat. In seven weeks, the candidate raised more than $450,000, breaking the district record without publicly distinguishing himself from his opponents.
Mayfield has yet to report his cash-on-hand total.
Representing the fourth generation of the family's 1,800-employee dairy, Mayfield has branded himself as a "down-to-earth" candidate who understands small business. Despite answering "not really" to a recent question on areas where he might disagree with Fleischmann, Hopper said that Mayfield's life experience is the main difference between him and his opponents, adding that other distinguishing positions may emerge from the candidate in coming months.
"We like our opponents and know they are both good men, but Scottie Mayfield is not, not, not a politician," Hopper said. "So he may have some differences with Chuck, but it's not in his nature to be negative. 'Not really' is not the same thing as 'no.' Of course there are differences. The biggest difference is experience and the ability to get things done."
Along with Mayfield and Wamp, Republican Ron Bhalla is also challenging Fleischmann. Democrats Bill Taylor and Dr. Mary Headrick are also running.
The 3rd District primary is Aug. 2.
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