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Heat rising in District 8 race

Heat rising in District 8 race
The subtle comments being levied at one another in the public arena in the Republican race to the District 8 Congressional seat is symbolic of a typical election season as voters are headed to the polls for the early voting in the Aug. 5 federal primary.
From accusations of accepting farm subsidies to claims of one candidate contributing to several Democratic campaigns, the Republicans vying to take Con. John Tanner’s seat have spent a great deal of their time in public forums attempting to defend their actions or refute the claims targeted at them.
This was apparent recently at a candidate forum held in Jackson.
When speaking with reporters after the forum, according to an Associated Press story that circulated on Monday, Frog Jump farmer Stephen Fincher spent his time trying to explain allegations against him that he has received a little more than “3.2 million” in federal farm subsidies and loans over the last two decades as a farmer.
Fincher admitted he received farm payments, but declared he only made between “$50,000 and $75,000” a year in net income.
As the tables turned to Union City native and Jackson physician Dr. Ron Kirkland, the candidate spent time admitting to providing contributions to Tanner and Democratic Sen. Lowe Finney of Jackson, politicians Kirkland said were his friends.
Kirkland told the forum audience those contributions were personal and that many of them sitting there had voted Democrat in the past and even contributed to Democrats, according to the AP story.
With all of the negativity swirling about in regard to the District 8 Republican race, a poll released Wednesday denounced previous reports of Fincher’s lead over his competitors within the last few months.
According to three polls apparently commissioned by Robert Kirkland and conducted by McLaughlin and Associates, the poll showing Fincher with a 23-point lead in April was reportedly only a 1.5-point lead. That, according to a release issued Wednesday by Robert Kirkland’s consultants.
A poll in July claimed Fincher had a 9-point lead over Kirkland. According to the release, Kirkland had a “slight edge” in the poll conducted by McLaughlin and Associates.
As voters attempt to make informed decisions about the candidates, the mailers and television ads targeted against one another seemingly leaves the issues of today on the back burner.
Fincher announced his intent to seek the District 8 seat in September 2009, before Tanner announced his plans to retire from his Congressional post.
Since that time, Fincher has picked up endorsements from several West Tennessee Tea Party divisions. Most recently, the Tennessee Right to Life issued the only federal campaign endorsement of Fincher. Tennessee Right to Life is the leading pro-life organization in the state.
Fincher signed the American Family Business Institute’s “Death Tax Repeal Pledge” in June thereby committing a vote for permanent repeal of the Federal Estate Tax, or Death Tax, if he is elected to Congress.
Kirkland has received endorsements also from several West Tennessee Tea Party divisions since his campaign launch.
His has repeatedly announced his goal, if elected to Congress, would be a push for 10 percent across the board cuts.
Both candidates admit they are conservative and have used that as their platform for seeking election. Both candidates even share the same views against Democrats Pres. Barack Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and have touted a strong effort to stop their agendas if elected to office.
Other candidates listed on the Republican ballot on Aug. 5 are Republicans George Flinn of Shelby County and Randy Smith of Jackson.
In a recent forum held on the UT Martin campus, Flinn announced if elected, he would reject Congressional pay until the 8th District bounced at or above its unemployment rate since Pelosi took office.
Smith carried a small book that contained the words of the Constitution and vowed to follow its guide before making any decision in Washington if elected to Congress.
Early voting for the County General Election and Republican primary began July 16 and will continue through July 31. The Weakley County Election Commission office is open Monday through from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. and on Saturday during the early voting period from 8:30 a.m. until noon.
Election Day is Aug. 5.
WCP 7.22.10

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