Tennessee: Self-Described Outsider to Pay Call on NRCC

Posted February 22, 2010 at 6:42pm

Two Republican primary candidates in the 8th district are likely to get very different receptions when they come to Capitol Hill for meetings with the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The committee will likely be rolling out the red carpet when farmer and gospel singer Stephen Fincher comes to town next Tuesday and Wednesday to meet with GOP Members as well as various conservative business groups.

Fincher was the national party’s favored candidate in the seat even before Rep. John Tanner (D) announced his plans to retire.

During the Presidents Day recess, NRCC Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) traveled to Memphis for a luncheon that raised about $30,000 for Fincher’s campaign.

Arriving in town this week will be physician Ron Kirkland, who entered the 8th district GOP primary in January.

Kirkland has described Fincher as the candidate of “political insiders [and] D.C. power brokers.”

His consultant, Joel McElhannon, on Monday described the scheduled meeting with NRCC officials as “a friendly courtesy call.”

“We’re not enemies, but we recognize where they stand in the primary,” McElhannon said.

Kirkland is also planning to sit down with the Club for Growth.

The winner of the GOP primary will likely face state Sen. Roy Herron (D) in November’s general election.