Stephen Lee Fincher (born February 7, 1973) is the U.S. Representative for Tennessee's 8th congressional district. He is a member of the Republican Party. The seat was vacated by retiring Democratic incumbent John S. Tanner. Fincher defeated Democratic Tennessee state senator Roy Herron in the 2010 mid-term Congressional general election.
Early life and farming career
Stephen Lee Fincher was born in 1973 in Memphis.
When he was 9 years old, he joined the The Fincher Family singing ministry, a gospel group led by his grandmother that travels to county fairs throughout the 8th district. They perform at more than 100 events each year.
A seventh generation farmer, Fincher is a managing partner in Fincher Farms, a family business that grows cotton, corn, soybeans, and wheat on more than 2,500 acres in western Tennessee. The company has received $8.9 million in farm subsidies over the past decade, mostly from the cotton program, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Fincher received a $13,650 grant to help buy grain hauling and storage equipment from the state Department of Agriculture in 2009 as part of the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program.
U.S. House of Representatives
Fincher jumped into the race for the 8th District after 11-term Democratic incumbent John S. Tanner announced his retirement. He won the August primary largely as a result of high voter turnout in rural areas of the district.
In the general election, Fincher faced Democratic State Senator Roy Herron, Tea Party candidate Donn Janes, who earlier dropped out of the Republican primary, and Independent Mark J. Rawles. Fincher declined to participate in a series of public debates.
Fincher was criticized by Herron and local media for his decision to not disclose his income tax returns, calling the criticism a "witch hunt." Fincher stated: "There is no reason for me to disclose my tax returns. These attacks are because Herron is losing and he can't handle it. He is avoiding the issues."
He received endorsements from former Governor Winfield Dunn, Citizens United, Eagle Forum, Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and State Senator Dolores Gresham. Fincher had over $420,000 cash on hand. Herron had over $1.1 million cash on hand.
The 8th had historically been represented by "Yellow Dog" Democrats.
Most state and local elected officials are Democrats, and congressional elections usually saw Democrats skate to reelection. However, it has become increasingly friendly to Republicans at the national level since the turn of the 21st century. In the 2008 presidential election, Republican U.S. Senator John McCain carried the district with 56% of the vote.
On November 2, 2010, Fincher defeated Herron, receiving 98,484 votes to Herron's 64,701. Upon his swearing-in on January 3, 2011; Fincher became the first Republican to represent what is now the 8th District since 1898.
Fincher will seek re-election in 2012.
Fincher is a fiscal and social conservative, who at the same time benefits from government farm subsidies.
He is strongly pro-life and pro-gun, and opposes same-sex marriage. On the issues section of his Website, he lists his top priority as restoring "limited government." He does not consider himself a traditional politician; his slogan in 2010 was "My roots are in Tennessee, not in politics."
- FEC investigation
On October 20, the Federal Election Commission announced that it was conducting an investigation into a $250,000 loan the Gates Banking and Trust Company, where Fincher's father is a board member, made to Fincher that he did not disclose on his FEC filings. Initially, Fincher's FEC filing indicated that the loan to the campaign committee came from the candidate’s personal funds with no reference to a bank loan. On December 6, 2010, the campaign amended the filing. On July 21, 2011, the FEC ruled unanimously Fincher had violated federal election law by listing the loan as a personal donation rather than from Gates Banking and Trust Company. To date, no penalty has been invoked for the violation.
In September 2011, Fincher was named one of the "Most Corrupt Members of Congress" for 2011 by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, specifically citing the Gates Banking loan.
- Committee on Financial Services
- Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit
- Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
- Republican Study Committee
- Tea Party Caucus
Fincher and his wife, Lynn, have three children. They live in Frog Jump, an unincorporated community just outside Halls. He is a lifetime member of Archer's Chapel United Methodist Church
Stephen has raised money for the Methodist Church, Dixie Youth Baseball, NOAH, and Relay for Life. He is a lifetime member of the NRA.
February 9th, 2012