Governor Bill Haslam hinted today he might back an incumbent Congressman who’s facing a tough Republican primary fight in East Tennessee. But Haslam stopped short of full-on endorsement for Chuck Fleischmann.
In the district that includes Chattanooga, the freshman Fleischmann is hoping to fend off several challengers. One is the 25-year-old son of Zach Wamp, who held the seat for more than a decade before Fleischmann. Another is Scottie Mayfield, a dairy executive who says he raised almost a half-million dollars in his first seven weeks running.
None of them has an official endorsement from Haslam yet, but the governor did say this:
“I think I’ve actually already – prior to everyone else announcing – had already given Congressman Fleischmann – I think, a campaign contribution. And he is the incumbent which has, in the past, tended to get our support.”
Finance records show several members of Haslam’s family contributing thousands of dollars to Fleischmann’s campaign. But when a reporter said “That sounds like an endorsement,” Haslam answered he wouldn’t go that far.