Ogles Wins Tennessee Primary For Open Seat GOP Hopes to Flip

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Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, who has campaigned as a pro-Donald Trump “America First” conservative and has been the target of multiple attack ads, has won Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District Republican primary.

Associated Press called the race at 11:34 p.m. with 80.8 percent of the ballots counted. Ogles generated 36.9 percent (21,298) of the vote.

The GOP field featured 10 candidates, including Robby Starbuck, who ran as a write-in option.

Former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell finished second with 26 percent (14,998) followed by 22 percent (12,709) for former Tennessee National Guard joint staff director Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead.

Retired small business owner Geni Batchelor, West Point graduate and U.S. Army combat veteran Jeff Beierlein, homeschool academy operator Natisha Brooks, former legislative senior policy and research adviser Tres Wittum, real estate professional Stewart Parks, and medical professional Timothy Lee were also on the ballot.

Cooper Not Seeking Reelection

The GOP is striving to regain control of the U.S. House and the party believes that one of the seats it can flip is Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District.

Rep. Jim Cooper (D) currently occupies the seat. He has represented the district since 2003 but announced in February that he would not seek reelection.

“Despite my strength at the polls, I could not stop the General Assembly from dismembering Nashville,” Cooper said in a statement after the newly drawn 5th district was revealed in January. “No one tried harder to keep our city whole.

“I explored every possible way, including lawsuits, to stop the gerrymandering and to win one of the three new congressional districts that now divide Nashville,” he added. “There’s no way, at least for me in this election cycle, but there may be a path for other worthy candidates.”

Democrats have held the 5th District congressional seat since 1875, when Ulysses S. Grant was president. Redistricting split Davidson County through downtown Nashville, shifting portions of the former 5th District to the mostly rural and historically Republican 6th District and 7th District.

By Jeff Louderback

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