Tennessee: Flowers Sprouts Uphill Bid for Wamp’s Seat

Posted May 11, 2009 at 6:00pm

Former State Insurance Commissioner Paula Flowers (D) has thrown her hat into the ring to replace outgoing Rep. Zach Wamp (R) in the Chattanooga-based 3rd district.

Flowers joins computer programmer and 2006 nominee Brent Benedict in the Democratic primary in a race that the national party is not expected to contest. Wamp beat Benedict by 31 points in 2006 and went on to beat his Democratic challenger by 42 points last cycle. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won the 3rd district with 62 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential race.

On the GOP side, Wamp’s gubernatorial candidacy has created a scramble with a handful of candidates either announced or considering a bid in the highly conservative district.

Bradley County Sheriff Tim Gobble and Attorney Chuck Fleischmann are in the race.

But state GOP Chairwoman Robin Smith has said she’s considering the race. State Sen. Bo Watson and state Rep. Gerald McCormick also have been mentioned for the GOP nomination.

The Republican nominee will be heavily favored to hold the seat.