Tennessee: Wamp Says He’ll Run for Governor in 2010

Posted January 5, 2009 at 5:53pm

Rep. Zach Wamp (R) announced Monday that he would run for governor in 2010, creating an open House seat in what should be a safe Republican district.

The decision by the seven-term Congressman came one day after former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R) announced he would not seek the gubernatorial post. Since then, the Republican field has opened up and Wamp’s name had been mentioned along with Memphis District Attorney Bill Gibbons and Knoxville Mayor Bill Haslam.

In a statement released by Friends of Zach Wamp on Monday, the Congressman said, “I believe the time is at hand for me to expand my service to help even more people in our great state by pursuing the office of Governor.”

He added that he would file the appropriate paperwork in the coming days to begin raising money for his statewide bid.

Wamp’s early entry into the governor’s race will certainly be helpful on the fundraising front because state campaign finance rules do not allow him to transfer the nearly $550,000 that he currently has in his federal account to his gubernatorial campaign.

On the Republican side, potential candidates for Wamp’s House seat include state state Sen. Dewayne Bunch, former state Sen. David Fowler, businessman Wayne Cropp, former U.S. attorney Sandy Mattice and state GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith.

“There is a solid bench of potential Republican candidates that would represent the interests and values of the district very nicely,” National Republican Congressional Committee spokesman Ken Spain said.

Democratic names include Chattanooga Mayor Ron Littlefield and state party chairman Randy Button.

According to the Chattanoogan, other potential candidates for Wamp’s seat include state Sen. Bo Watson (R), attorney Chuck Fleischmann (R) and state Sen. Andy Berke (D).