Republican congressional candidate and regional dairy mogul Scottie Mayfield has announced he will employ the use of a "top GOP pollster" in his effort to unseat Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in this year's 3rd District primary.
Mayfield's campaign announced Thursday that Dr. Whit Ayres, president of Washington D.C., based firm North Star Opinion Research, will conduct opinion research and assist in developing Mayfield's campaign strategy and message.
Ayres and his firm have a history of working with Tennessee lawmakers, including the campaigns of Sen. Lamar Alexander, Sen. Bob Corker, former Sen. Majority Leader Bill Frist and Gov. Bill Haslam. The firm has also worked for the campaigns of GOP heavyweights Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Marco Rubio.
"We are excited about the addition of Whit to our growing team of respected Republican leaders and operatives," Mayfield said in a news release. "His winning track record in Tennessee will help us run a better campaign focused on the issues East Tennesseans care about."
The addition of Ayers is Mayfield's second major recruit for his campaign, following the recent hire of Tommy Hopper, a longtime political consultant and former chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party.
In the 2010 election cycle, Fleischmann employed the use of Wilson Research Strategies, now known as WPA Opinion Research, to conduct campaign research. Fleischmann has not yet made any research-related expenditures, according to his most recent set of campaign financial disclosures.
Weston Wamp, the other most serious Republican challenger to Fleischmann at this point, said his campaign had not yet established any relationships with a polling and research organization but added that it would likely become a part of his strategy in the coming months.
"It's likely that we'll get there, but we're not to the need of doing any polling yet," Wamp said. "At some point, we may enlist the help of a firm—I personally don't like that part of the process—but we'll address that when we have to, if we need to."
Along with Wamp and Mayfield, Dr. Jean Howard-Hill and Ron Bhalla have entered the 3rd District race as Republicans. Dr. Mary Headrick and Bill Taylor are running as Democrats.
The 3rd District primary election will take place Aug. 2.