|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 3rd district
January 3, 1995 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Marilyn Lloyd|
|Succeeded by||Chuck Fleischmann|
|Born||Zachary Paul Wamp
October 28, 1957
Fort Benning, Georgia, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Kimberly Wamp; 2 children|
|Residence||Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.|
|Alma mater||McCallie School|
|Occupation||Real estate broker|
Zachary Paul "Zach" Wamp (born October 28, 1957) is an American politician who was the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 3rd congressional district from 1995 to 2011. He is a member of the Republican Party. The district is based in Chattanooga and includes large parts of East Tennessee, including Oak Ridge.
Early life, education, and pre-congressional career
Wamp was born in Fort Benning, Georgia and grew up in East Ridge, Tennessee, a community adjacent to Chattanooga, where his father worked as an architect. He attended The Lutheran School, a Lutheran elementary school. Later, with his two brothers, he attended the McCallie School, a boy's boarding and day school in Chattanooga, as a day student, from the age of 11 until he graduated in 1976. He was president of the student council, active in athletics and was the MVP of the varsity basketball team at McCallie in 1976. He was baptized, raised and confirmed in the Lutheran Church. He spent his first freshman year at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1977–78 and briefly returned in 1979–80 after his sophomore year at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville between (1978–79). However, he graduated from neither and struggled with drug and alcohol problems as a student before ultimately dropping out of college.
After leaving college, Wamp was a national sales supervisor for Olan Mills, a photography company based in Chattanooga that primarily produces church directories, and later a commercial and industrial real estate broker. He worked in his family's architectural and development business and became vice president of Charter Real Estate Corporation in 1989. In 1992, he joined Fletcher Bright Co. in Chattanooga as a commercial and industrial real estate broker.
He began his career in politics as precinct vice chairman for the 1983 Chattanooga mayoral campaign of Gene Roberts. He was later elected chairman of the Hamilton County, Tennessee Republican Party, then regional director for the state GOP.
U.S. House of Representatives
Wamp ran for the House of Representatives as a Republican in 1992 against nine-term Democrat Marilyn Lloyd. He nearly scored a major upset, only losing by 1.3 points—only 2,900 votes out of 210,000 total votes cast.
When Lloyd did not run for re-election in 1994, Wamp ran again. Battling through a hotly contested primary, he easily defeated his childhood friend and sitting State Representative Kenneth J. Meyer by nearly two to one. During the race, Wamp signed the Contract with America. He also personally committed to serve only six terms if elected and further committed to not accept special interest PAC money. He proposed a plan to pay congressmen the same as Lieutenant Colonels and linked his Democratic opponent, Randy Button, to Bill Clinton. Wamp won the general election with 52% of the vote, during the Republican Revolution. He likely got coattails from Bill Frist and Fred Thompsons strong 1994 statewide elections, and was helped in 1996 by Lloyd crossing party lines to endorse him. After his first two elections, he never faced another close contest, and was reelected seven times.
From 1998 onward, he won by 64 percent or more of the vote. Ultimately he broke two of his key campaign pledges by serving a total of eight terms, rather than six, and by accepting special interest PAC contributions. Wamp explored seeking a seat in the United States Senate to succeed Bill Frist, who had promised to serve no more than two terms. He decided against running for that seat in October 2004.
When he was elected to the House in 1994, Wamp pledged to serve just twelve years (six terms) in the House. However, shortly after winning reelection to a sixth term in 2004, Wamp announced he would run again in 2006 after all, citing his status as Tennessee's only member of the powerful Appropriations Committee. The pledge was "a mistake," he told the Associated Press in 2004.
Wamp faced Brent Benedict, a computer programmer and consultant. During the campaign, Benedict made an issue of Wamp breaking his term limit pledge, saying that he would hold himself to six terms if elected. Despite this, Wamp was easily reelected.
Following the GOP losing the U.S. House and U.S. Senate in the 2006 midterm elections, Wamp reflected on the defeat saying, "For the first six years of the 12 years, we were focused on policy and principles, and politics was secondary. The second six years, politics became primary: raising money, going negative, consolidating power."
He won re-election with 69% of the vote, his best election performance.
Wamp was a member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, a post he has used to champion what he called his highest legislative priority—funding for his district's decaying lock at the Chickamauga Dam. In 2006, the eight-year, $349 million project was approved, but Wamp has had to continually work to protect the project from budget cuts and shortfalls. Indeed, he cited his status as the only Tennessean on that committee as a reason for dropping his original term-limit pledge. He also secured in the 2006 budget a $4 million appropriation for a methamphetamine task force, which was started in 1999 and has since expanded to all regions of Tennessee. Wamp has vigorously supported the Tennessee Valley Authority, one of the largest government-owned firms in the United States.
Wamp supported legislation to allow the posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings. He changed his vote from "nay" to "yea" on the bill of the Wall Street bailout, but later has said he regrets that vote. In 2003, he was one of two congressmen to have received a 100 percent rating from the American Conservative Union.
- 2005 run for Majority Whip
In the wake of Tom DeLay's indictment in September 2005, Wamp campaigned among his fellow Republican House members to become the majority whip, the number three position in the Republican House leadership. Representatives Ray LaHood and Gil Gutknecht agreed to co-chair his campaign for the position. However, the incumbent, Roy Blunt, remained the majority whip because Blunt lost his race for Majority Leader (the position was won by John Boehner in February 2006).
- Committee on Appropriations
Wamp served on the Liberty Caucus (sometimes called the Liberty Committee), a Republican group that focuses on reducing the size of the US Government. Congressman Ron Paul hosts a luncheon for the Liberty Caucus every Thursday.
2010 gubernatorial election
On July 23, 2010, Hotline OnCall published statements made by Wamp in an interview, in which he said that the health care reforms proposed during the Obama administration had placed state governments in "an untenable position". Wamp also suggested the possibility of secession arising from opposition to the federal government, stating "I hope that the American people will go to the ballot box in 2010 and 2012 so that states are not forced to consider separation from this government", as well as expressing support for Texas Governor Rick Perry's similar statements regarding secession. Wamp's statements drew national attention, prompting Wamp to state that his remarks were misinterpreted, and that he did not support secession. Opponent Ron Ramsey labeled the remarks Wamp's "over-the-top temperament and overheated, sometimes crazy rhetoric".
|Year||Democratic||Votes||Pct||Republican||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct||3rd Party||Party||Votes||Pct|
|1992||Marilyn Lloyd||105,693||49%||Zach Wamp||102,763||47%||Carol Hagan||Independent||4,433||2%||Pete Melcher||Independent||2,048||1%||*|
|1994||Randy Button||73,839||46%||Zach Wamp||84,583||52%||Thomas Morrell||Independent||1,929||1%||Richard M. Sims||Independent||1,498||1%||*|
|1996||Charles N. Jolly||85,714||43%||Zach Wamp||113,408||56%||William A. Cole||Independent||1,002||<1%||Walt Ward||Independent||718||<1%||*|
|1998||James M. Lewis||37,144||33%||Zach Wamp||75,100||66%||Richard M. Sims||Independent||1,468||1%||*|
|2000||William Callaway||75,785||35%||Zach Wamp||139,840||64%||Trudy Austin||Libertarian||3,235||1%||*|
|2002||John Wolfe||58,824||34%||Zach Wamp||112,254||65%||William Bolen||Independent||1,743||1%||Timothy A. Sevier||Independent||947||1%||*|
|2004||John Wolfe||84,295||33%||Zach Wamp||166,154||65%||June Griffin||Independent||3,018||1%||Doug Vandagriff||Independent||1,696||1%||*|
|2006||Brent Benedict||68,324||34%||Zach Wamp||130,791||66%||*|
|2008||Doug Vandagriff||73,030||27%||Zach Wamp||184,787||69%||Jean Howard-Hill||Independent||4,846||2%||Ed Choate||Independent||3,749||1%||*|
Zach and his wife Kim have been married for 31 years and have a son Weston Wamp, a principal in Lamp Post Ventures in Chattanooga, and a daughter, Coty, who graduated Cum Laude from UT College of Law in 2014. She is currently Assistant Public Defender in Hamilton County, Tennessee. In 2012, Weston attempted to win his father's old seat from incumbent Chuck Fleischmann, but lost in the Republican primary. In 2014, Weston Wamp ran against Chuck Fleischmann again, losing the GOP primary 50.8% to 49.2%. Weston and his wife Shelby have a son, River Cullman Wamp born February 11, 2015 and a daughter Griffin Sailor Wamp born August 12, 2016.
- "Wamp emphasizes 'second chance' after drug past". Knoxville News Sentinel. December 10, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Stone, Andrea (April 12, 2006). "Term-limit pledges get left behind". USA Today. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Wang, Herman (September 21, 2006). "Benedict criticizes Wamp for violating term limit pledge". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Wolf, Richard (April 1, 2008). "Republicans of '94 revolution reflect on '06". USA Today.
- "Chattanooga: New lock takes shape at Chickamauga Dam". Chattanooga Times Free Press. August 11, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Flessner, Dave (August 12, 2008). "Tennessee: Different funding source may be needed to finish project". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Flessner, Dave (March 14, 2008). "Waterways funding shortfall puts squeeze on Chickamauga Lock". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Legge, Joe (August 3, 2010). "Tennessee Governor's Race Candidate Profile: Zach Wamp". WDEF-TV.
- Wilson, Matt (April 5, 2009). "Tennessee: Bailout backers got gifts from banks". Chattanooga Times Free Press.
- "Wamp Receives ACU Conservative Honor". The Chattanoogan. May 7, 2010.
- VandeHei, Jim; Amy Goldstein (September 30, 2005). "A Scramble To Fill Vacuum Left by DeLay". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Wilson, Matt (January 5, 2009). "Update: Rep. Wamp will seek governor's seat, asks local Pachyderm Club for support". Chattanooga Times Free Press. Retrieved January 5, 2009.
- Roem, Dan (July 23, 2010). "Health Care Law Has Wamp Hoping Against Secession". National Journal. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Humphrey, Tom (July 23, 2010). "Wamp says he does not want secession". Knoxville News Sentinel. Retrieved July 29, 2010.
- Kolawole, Emi (July 23, 2010). "GOP Rep. Zach Wamp talks of secession". The Washington Post.
- Cliff Hightower and Andy Sher (August 6, 2010). "It's Haslam vs. McWherter". Chattanooga Times Free Press.
- "Election Statistics". Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives. Retrieved January 10, 2008.
- Miller, Joshua (August 2, 2012). "Tennessee: Chuck Fleischmann Wins Primary". Roll Call. Retrieved August 8, 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Zach Wamp.|
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Profile at SourceWatch
|United States House of Representatives|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Tennessee's 3rd congressional district