Former opponent: ‘Trey Hollingsworth is no Hoosier’


To the editor of The Democrat:

“There are known knowns,” former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said. “There are known unknowns. That is to say we know there’s some things we do not know.”

Trey Hollingsworth is a known unknown.

By September of last year, four Hoosiers — including me — had put their hats into the ring to run for the 9th Congressional District Republican nomination. Then, out of nowhere, a new name emerged, and since that time we have learned very little about Trey Hollingsworth of Clinton, Tennessee, and why he wants to represent Hoosiers in Congress.

Here’s the very little we do know from the public domain.

Trey Hollingsworth is the son of Joe Hollingsworth, the CEO and owner of The Hollingsworth Companies. Among his many accolades, Joe is known as the co-author of a book extolling the virtues of investing in the South called The Southern Advantage and is an inductee into the East Tennessee Business Hall of Fame. The Hollingsworth Companies has clearly contributed much to many communities in the South.

We also know that Trey attended the Wharton School of Business and, courtesy of a prominently featured spread in the Charleston (South Carolina) Style & Design Magazine, that he got married in 2014.

Between attending school and getting married, however, there’s a long gap. Where did Trey live? What involvement did he actually have in The Hollingsworth Companies? More unknowns. He’s mentioned repeatedly as the owner of Hollingsworth Capital Partners, a 10-person outfit that is part of The Hollingsworth Companies, that is also based in Clinton, Tennessee, but what about before that?

It’s not until September 2015 that the story begins to come into focus. It was at that time that Trey Hollingsworth registered to vote in Indiana for the first time. And on his first campaign finance report it shows him donating nearly $700,000 of his own money, presumably acquired from his Tennessee-based firm, to his campaign.

It’s worth noting that 9 percent of his contributions have come from supporters and 1 percent from Hoosiers.

Thanks to that disclosure, we know he’s used that money to air feel-good television advertisements, while a Super PAC based in Alexandria, Virginia, formed to support his bid, attacks Attorney General Greg Zoeller, the candidate I endorsed after dropping out of the race.

While we know the Super PAC exists, due to a lack of disclosure, the funding sources are unknown.

What’s absolutely known though is that Trey Hollingsworth is not a Hoosier. He’s never been a Hoosier. He is a Tennessee Volunteer through and through.

Voters in Indiana’s 9th Congressional District need to know this other known: Trey Hollingsworth has the political itch and moved to Indiana to buy a Congressional seat.

Jim Pfaff, Bloomington

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