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VOL. 36 | NO. 31 | Friday, August 03, 2012

Black, Fleischmann prevail in hard-fought races

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Black, Fleischmann prevail in hard-fought races

ERIK SCHELZIG,Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Freshman U.S. Reps. Diane Black and Chuck Fleischmann on Thursday turned back vigorous attempts by Republican rivals to deny them another term in Congress.

Fleischmann defeated dairy executive Scottie Mayfield and Weston Wamp, the son of the former congressman representing the 3rd District in East Tennessee.

"I look forward to returning to Congress to continue to fight for the conservative values I'm committed to," Fleischmann said in an emailed statement.

With all precincts reporting, Fleischmann had 29,943 votes, or 39 percent, compared with Mayfield's 23,772 votes, or 31 percent. Wamp had 29 percent.

Edwinea Murray, a retired Tennessee Valley Authority worker who lives in Hixson, said she voted for Fleischmann because she was disgusted by the tone of rival campaigns.

"They were slamming their opponents in the commercials more than anything," she said. "I think a lot of that is unnecessary."

Fleischmann faces Democrat Mary Headrick in November.

Black battled Lou Anne Zelenik in a 6th District race every bit as bitter as their previous encounter two years ago, featuring a heavy rotation of attack ads.

In the end, it wasn't close. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Black had 40,694 votes, or 69 percent, compared with Zelenik's 18,543, or 31 percent. Black is unopposed in the general election.

"Tonight, voters sent a message that they are happy with the way they are being represented in Congress," Black said in a statement.

Eleanor Searles, an 87-year-old Hendersonville voter, said she didn't like all the negative campaigning, but she voted for Black because she was familiar with her.

"I know they throw dirt at each other, but I know what's there," she said.

Willie Ledbetter, a 78-year-old Hendersonville woman who identified herself as a tea party member, said Black had done a good job, while she was turned off by the rhetoric of Zelenick, of what the candidate deems the political agenda of radical Islam in the United States.

Ledbetter said of Zelenik: "Her whole campaign was negative."

Tennessee voters also decided more than 60 legislative primaries and settled some local school issues in Thursday's voting.

In the two dozen races where GOP state lawmakers were facing challenges, at least four incumbents were defeated. They included House Republican Caucus Chairwoman Debra Maggart of Hendersonville, who was beaten by a challenger Courtney Rogers who was backed by the National Rifle Association.

Five incumbents' races were too close to call, including four Republicans and one Democrat.

Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker easily picked up his party's nomination, while Democrats nominated floor installer Mark Clayton from among seven similarly unknown candidates.

Clayton said in an interview before the election that privacy issues are his main concern and that he thinks people are being "over-identified by the government and tracked."

Five other congressional matchups were decided on Thursday:

— 1st District: Rep. Phil Roe faces Democrat Alan Woodruff.

— 2nd District: Rep. Jimmy Duncan faces Democrat Troy Christopher Goodale.

— 4th District: Rep. Scott DesJarlais faces Democrat Eric Stewart.

— 7th District: Rep. Marsha Blackburn faces Democrat Credo Amouzouvik.

— 9th District: Rep. Steve Cohen faces Republican George Flinn.

The opponents of two incumbents, Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher in the 8th District, and Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper in the 5th District, weren't yet decided late Thursday.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Timothy Dixon was narrowly leading Wes Bradley in the 8th District Democratic primary while Brad Staats was edging Bob Ries in the 5th District Republican primary.