Stephen Fincher on Sunday formally announced his intention to run for the U.S. Senate to replace retiring Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN).
A West Tennessee farmer and small businessman, Fincher is a former congressman who recently served three consecutive terms before deciding in 2016 not to run again because of an illness in his family.
Fincher will be competing for the Republican nomination against U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN-7) and conservative activist Andy Ogles. Phil Bredesen, the Democratic former Tennessee governor and Nashville mayor, is also considering joining the race for Corker’s seat.
Fincher portrays himself as a solid conservative, but grassroots conservative activists tell a different story.
Earlier this month, when Fincher was on a listening tour of the state while considering running, Andy Roth, vice president of the Club for Growth, released a statement saying that “it’s worth reminding Tennessee what his true colors are.”
“As I’m sure you saw, Fincher recently stated: ‘I think (Trump’s) policies are spot-on for what we need as a country.’ That’s pretty funny considering that when Fincher was in Congress he routinely joined with Democrats to support liberal special interests like voting for Obama’s green energy programs and supporting corporate welfare. But his liberal leanings don’t end there, he even voted to keep a Christmas Tree tax in place,” Roth said.
Fincher has also been criticized for joining with Democrats and House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi to reinstate the Export-Import Bank, which many refer to as a leading example of corporate welfare.
In a press release Sunday, Fincher blasted support for special interests.
“Tennesseans are fed up with Washington dysfunction, special interests and the failure of career politicians to deliver results,” Fincher said. “I am as frustrated as they are. To use a phrase from the farming business, what Washington needs is to be plowed – turn the ground over and grow something new.”
Fincher pledged “to fight for balanced budgets, less regulation, lower taxes and peace through strength, and we are going to fix the broken health care system.”
The 44-year-old also said if elected to the Senate, he would continue his policy of not accepting congressional health insurance or participating in the retirement plan.
Fincher has been married to his wife, Lynn, for 25 years, and they have three children and a daughter-in-law. The family is active in Archer’s Chapel Methodist Church in Frog Jump.
In addition to his role in politics, Fincher is known for being part of a family gospel music singing ministry started by his grandmother more than 60 years ago.