Obama visits Chattanooga: Land of GOP votes and Democratic bucks


President Barack Obama, who lately has been doing a lot of worrying aloud about the decline of the middle class, on Tuesday takes his rolling conversation about the economy to Tennessee, where local Republicans have prepared a not-so-welcome wagon.

The 30-second ad seen above, produced by the Tennessee Republican Party, showed up over the weekend in Ad Hawk, Sunlight's database of political advertisements. It credits the Volunteer State's economic successes to conservative policies, including one that makes it harder for unions to organize. In fact, however, Tennessee is not a bright spot when it comes to jobs: The state's unemployment rate in June was 8.5 percent, higher than the national average, and it lost 16,500 jobs, which the Bureau of Labor Service said was the largest monthly decrease in the nation.

On paper, Obama is visiting hostile territory: His 2012 Republican rival, Mitt Romney, won Tennessee by 20 percentage points; its governor and both senators are Republican as are all but two of the state's nine members of Congress. Yet the state is also home to some generous Democratic donors, who collectively have given the president more than $7 million to his presidential campaign committee,data downloaded from Influence Explorer show. More than a half-million of that came from Chattanooga, the city that Obama will visit tomorrow. It's home to longtime Democratic donor Franklin Haney, a real estate developer who pumped more than $1 million into Obama's election when you count money he donated to outside spending groups supporting the president.


  • To download a .csv file of all Tennessee donations to Obama click here.
  • To download a .csv file of all Chattanooga donations to Obama click here.

Moreover, the venue for Obama's remarks will be an Amazon distribution center, where officials say they are hiring. Employees of the online retail giant have given more than $81,000 to Obama's presidential campaign committee, according to Influence Explorer data.


  • To download a .csv file of Amazon contributions to Obama, click here.

And the company's other political contributions have a distinctly liberal tilt. Last year, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos gave $2.5 million to a group that successfully defended Washington state's law allowing gay marriage in a statewide referendum.