ARLINGTON, TN – Tom Leatherwood is gaining rapidly in his campaign for the Republican nomination for Congress in Tennessee’s 7th District, cutting the incumbent’s lead to just 11 points, according to a survey conducted by Ethridge and Associates, LLC. Leatherwood is challenging Congressman Marsha Blackburn in the August 7 Primary. According to the results of a districtwide poll taken on June 28 and 29, Leatherwood trails 37% to 48% districtwide. This shows a net gain for Leatherwood of 16 points compared to a March survey in which he trailed by 30% to 57%. In Shelby County, where both candidates are well known, Leatherwood leads 55% to 30%, a positive swing of 29 points from the March poll that showed him trailing 40% to 44%.
“Tom Leatherwood has the potential to defeat Marsha Blackburn, and his campaign message of public service, not self-service, is resonating with voters,” according to Ethridge. “When an incumbent with name I.D. of more than 90% has locked up less than half the vote five weeks before the election, that incumbent clearly is in trouble,” Ethridge added.
“After talking to voters throughout the district, these numbers don’t surprise me,” said Leatherwood. “Republicans are ready for a change in Washington and that includes someone who will address high gas and grocery prices, the economy and illegal immigration. They are upset when they hear that special interests paid for her to take more than 20 trips to resort locations. They don’t like that she failed to report over $400,000 in campaign contributions and expenditures. And, they know it is wrong when they hear the incumbent has funneled more than $350,000 in campaign and PAC funds to her family."
“We still have a lot to do,” Leatherwood said. “The incumbent has a war chest filled with special interest money, and we already see she’s not hesitating to spend it. Fortunately, money isn’t everything. Last month, a Republican challenger in Utah, outspent by almost $500,000, defeated the incumbent 60% to 40%. I believe, and the numbers back me up, that we’re putting together the campaign we need to win.”
This article from Post Politics is also encouraging!
Incumbent Chris Cannon, first elected in 1996, was endorsed by President Bush and both of Utah’s Republican U.S. Senators. Cannon spent more than $760,000 compared to the victorious Jason Chaffetz, who spent just $175,000. Congressional Quarterly’s on-line report cited “the failure of Cannon to generate the kind of turnout typically enjoyed by House incumbents.” Cannon was criticized for his support of comprehensive immigration reform, an unpopular position in that district.
Here in Tennessee’s 7th District, Blackburn faces a similar challenge. The Leatherwood campaign finds that voters disapprove of incumbent Blackburn’s pattern of violating Federal Election law and her funneling more than $350,000 in campaign funds to family members. Tom told me that this election sends to Washington the same message he wants to send, “For Republicans to regain our majority, we have to reform the way we do business in Washington. That means holding our own accountable and replacing them when they lose their way.”
Geography also played a role in the Chaffetz victory. He carried Salt Lake County, his home county and the largest in the district, with 63% of the vote. In the 7th District, Leatherwood’s home of Shelby County accounts for more than 50% of the Republican Primary vote in on-gubernatorial years.