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Nashville businessman to challenge Congressman Cooper
Mar 24, 2004 12:00 am
With just over four months left before Wilson County's Aug. 5 primary, a Republican challenger for Congressman Jim Cooper's seat as the representative of the 5th District in the United States House of Representatives has emerged.
Nashville businessman Scott Knapp – a resident of Davidson County since 1983 – said Tuesday he expects to file his petition to run against Cooper on Friday.
A former Democrat who, in his own words, "got disenchanted" with the party, Knapp identified the nation's energy policy as the key issue in his campaign.
"Since the mid-70s when we first had our energy crisis and the gas lines were so long at the gas stations, I kept thinking that people smarter and wiser than me would go to Washington and solve the problem," Knapp said. "Here it is 30 years later, and we still don't have any cohesive energy policy that's going to take us off of oil and put us on renewable resources."
Knapp added he is "not happy" with either the Democratic Party nor the GOP due to his belief that neither of the nation's major parties are doing enough to reduce U.S. dependency on oil.
Instead of using alternative fuels such as converting coal to gasoline, Knapp said he would prefer using wind power to synthesize hydrogen to be used for the nation's energy needs.
In doing so, Knapp explained a host of blue-collar and manufacturing jobs would be created, ultimately improving the nation's economy.
"It's very clear that some day we are going to run out of oil … We've got to make the change, and we're not doing that," he remarked. " … I would go with wind power creating hydrogen."
After researching renewable and alternative fuels, Knapp estimated the price of a hydrogen fuel would be the equivalent of approximately $3 per gallon of gasoline. And while he conceded that figure is higher than current gasoline prices, Knapp explained it would become more acceptable as gas prices continue to rise.
"Technically, it's not economically viable at this point, but we've got to get the ball rolling," he said. " … Oil prices – and we're seeing it right now – are going to skyrocket in the next five years or so. Up until now, the world has produced more oil than we've been consuming, but a lot of these oil fields are starting to tap out to where it will not be physically possible to produce that much.
That means, with the law of supply and demand, the price of oil is going to double and triple and maybe go to four or five times as much as it is. Who knows where it will end up?"
It is unclear whether Knapp will have much of an effect on Cooper's re-election bid, even if Knapp has a clear path to the GOP nomination in the 5th District with no opponent.
Cooper won his initial bid last election season with ease, dominating balloting in Davidson County though he lost to a relative unknown Republican – Bob Duvall – in Wilson County.
Cooper poured a considerable amount of his personal wealth into the race and already has a significant six-figure campaign war chest.
GOP insiders also maintain the new 5th District – made up of Davidson County and most of Wilson County – will be difficult for any Republican to win.
"It's one of those seats that even on a perfect day for Republicans is an uphill climb," former Tennessee Republican Party Chair Chip Saltsman said. "The numbers there are not good for us. It's a tough seat all the way around."
Managing Editor Clint Brewer contributed to this story.