Who is Ahead in the TN 3rd District Republican Primary?

At the Tea Party Debate between the GOP primary candidates last Saturday, which I live-tweeted, Van Irions mentioned several times that he was leading “in the polls.”  I receive emails from the Irions campaign, and have received several emails from the campaign urging me to “vote” for Irions at this website, Topix.com.  The results look like this:

Who would you vote for in the 3rd Congressional race

Click on an option to vote

  •  Tommy Crangle-R
  •  Chuck Fleischmann-R
  • Tim Gobble-R
  • Art Rhodes-R
  • Robin Smith-R
  •  Van Irion- R
  •  Mark DeVol -I
Van Irion- R 88   46%
Tim Gobble-R 36   19%
Chuck Fleischmann-R 33   17%
Art Rhodes-R 19   10%
Robin Smith-R 7   3%
Tommy Crangle-R 3   1%
Mark DeVol -I 2   1%
Current Total 188

*Last week, I received an email from the campaign boasting that they were leading in the same poll. 

I also receive emails from the Chuck Fleischman campaign; I have not received any emails requesting my vote in this poll.  There is also an online poll at the Chattanooga Tea Party website (viewing or voting in the poll requires registration, I’m basing this post on an email from the campaign sent on Feb. 26), which again is based only on votes by whoever happens to click. Notably, Irion is in 2nd place in this poll, with 26% of the vote, based on that email (with Fleishman a very close 3rd at 24% and Gobble leading with 33%). 

I was not able to find any other polls regarding this race. 

Was Irion, at the debate, boasting about his success in an online, unscientific poll that is weighed in his favor by asking his supporters to vote in it?  If the answer is yes, I find that quite dishonest. 

* Originally, I wrote that I had received the email “today,” which was incorrect.  The email was dated last week; I was just cleaning out the inbox today (well, now yesterday) when I read it.

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9 Responses

  1. The Van Irion campaign has not sent out an email since the debate, so I’m not sure who you received an email from today. Regardless, each candidate has the same opportunity to contact their supporters and ask them to vote. While not “scientific”, Van’s supporters are either more numerous or are the most willing to vote.

    • Hello, Dawn, thank you for responding. However, I wish that you had addressed my actual concerns.

      You’re right that the email was from last week. I was cleaning out my inbox and was just reading that one, so I mistakenly called it today’s. I meant to change it, but must have forgotten to go back. (It’s changed now).

      Regardless, that in no way addresses the point of my post. I was not concerned about the emails, which give the source, but about Mr. Irions’ statements in the debate. Obviously other candidates could have asked their supporters to vote in the poll; my concerns did not go to unfairness, they went to dishonesty. While reasonable minds could disagree about whether describing this as just “the polls” should be considered an outright lie, it was clearly intended to give an impression to the listener which is inaccurate. I was very impressed to hear that this unusual and interesting candidate was far more popular than I had thought; I now know that there is no reason to believe that this is the case.

      Americans are unhappy with dishonest politicians. Is this suggestive of the statements that we could expect from Representative Irions?

  2. So you’re upset with the Irion campaign for not saying “we’re leading in the unscientific polls”? C’mon… Van is a long shot, but he’s a good guy and the Republican Party needs his enthusiasm. It just seems like you’re making a mountain out of a molehill with this one.

    Thanks for the post.

    • If he’s going to say it, he shouldn’t be misleading about it. It’s as simple as that. I was really interested in his enthusiasm; I agree that it’s a good thing. I just want straightforwardness as well.

  3. I find it interesting that yesterday Van Irions signed an opinion piece to the chattanoogan as from Oak Ridge when he is from Knox County . . . not even in the 3rd district. I want a straight forward approach to all aspects not just select ones.

    • Hi Lynette, thanks for commenting. You make a good point, but I’ll add a few things: first, that, if this this is the letter that you are referring to, it appears that they have removed the city, so it’s not clear who put it there in the first place. (Perhaps someone else said something?)

      Second, during the meet and greet after the debate, someone did ask him about where he lived, and he was upfront that it is not, technically, in the district. He did mention that his backyard basically touches it, though. He also said that there is no restriction that says that he must live in the district.

      Third, I was thinking that he may have an Oak Ridge address, despite being in Knox County (addresses can be weird like that around here, and that would justify signing off as an Oak Ridger), but that doesn’t look like the case.

      Anyhow, I agree with Dawn that these aren’t necessarily huge issues, but I’m concerned that they evidence a larger problem.

  4. I fave heard Van speak on several ocassions, and when mentioning polls (the above, the one of WOOP FM, Etc,) he has always stated that these are nonscientific polls. He has also been very up front as to living just ouside the 3rd district. However, I believe that he has now moved to be within the third district.

  5. I wish you would spell Van’s name correctly, Lyssa. There is NO “s” on the the end of Irion.

    Van Irion is the 3rd district candidate who most distinctly supports freedom (civil liberties) and limited, constitutional government. He has my vote!

    • Error fixed. I’m a terrible speller, and for a while when the race first started, I had it in my head that his name should end with an “s.” (don’t know why, it just sounds like it should to me). I’ve since broken myself of the habit.

      I certainly love the ideas that Van espouses. I just question whether he is the right person to bring them to Washington.

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