Church Hill Republican Mike Faulk continues to move closer toward a possible 2008 Tennessee state Senate election showdown with incumbent independent Mike Williams.
Faulk has launched a Web site, faulkforsenate.com , that has come under fire from the Tennessee Democratic Party (TDP).
In an e-mail titled “The audacity of Faulk,” the TDP said Faulk’s campaign copied two portions of Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s Web site at barackobama.com. The portions mentioned were the “Get Involved” and “Donate” pages.
“Since Republican Mike Faulk is willing to take the language of Senator Obama and use it for his Web site, I hope he will make an official endorsement shortly,” TDP Chairman Gray Sasser said in the e-mail.
Faulk said the TDP’s claim is accurate, and added those particular Web pages have since been edited.
“Why they would complain about me imitating one of their successful candidates is rather striking,” Faulk said. “I think Barack Obama has done a good job of building a grass-roots organization, and he’s done a good job of grass-roots fund raising, but that doesn’t excuse the fact we used very similar language on our Web site, and I take full responsibility for that. I should have checked it more carefully. ... (Obama’s) volunteer and financial donations pages were good models.”
TDP currently does not have a 2008 candidate for the 4th Senatorial District, which includes Claiborne, Grainger, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson and Union counties in Northeast Tennessee. Faulk hasn’t officially declared his candidacy.
Williams changed his political affiliation from Republican to independent early this year. He is often viewed as a swing vote in a state Senate currently having 16 Republicans and 16 Democrats. The state Senate is led by Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, a Blountville Republican and Faulk supporter.
Faulk said he would not make a final decision until sometime this winter and added the health of his mother would factor into his choice.
“If she keeps getting good reports, the odds are really strong that I’ll be in,” Faulk said.
Faulk has so far raised about $11,500 for his campaign, according to disclosures filed with the Tennessee Registry of Election Finance. The Tennessee Conservative Political Action Committee, founded by former King Pharmaceuticals Chairman and CEO John Gregory, has given Faulk’s campaign $7,000. Former congressional candidate Richard Roberts of Greeneville has contributed $1,000 to the campaign.
Faulk estimated it will take between $200,000 and $500,000 to mount a competitive campaign.
His Web site features an introductory letter from retired Republican U.S. Rep. William L. “Bill” Jenkins of Rogersville. Jenkins notes Faulk has made his reputation as an attorney suing drunk drivers, and is an outdoorsman and conservationist.
“His legal career has been exceptional,” Jenkins said of Faulk in the letter. “I know firsthand. I was circuit court judge when a young lawyer named Mike Faulk became Hawkins County’s first certified civil trial specialist. From T-ball coach to juvenile court referee, to county commissioner, to vice chairman of the Hawkins County Republican Party and as the vice chairman of the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, Mike Faulk has shown