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The far-right mayor wins the GOP primary for the US House of Representatives seat in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Andy Ogles, a far-right district mayor, won the crowded Tennessee Republican primary Thursday in a remodeled congressional district in left-leaning Nashville The party is hoping for a turnaround in November. In a warning ahead of the general election, he said: “Liberals, we’re coming for you.”

Ogles, the mayor of Maury County and one-time leader of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity state group, emerged from nine candidates after a hard-fought primary for the state’s 5th congressional district. The seat drew significant interest from Republicans after the GOP state legislature split Nashville into three districts that headed the incumbent Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper to announce his resignation.

“We are at war. This is a political war, a cultural war and a spiritual war,” Ogles said in his victory speech. “And as we move on, we must get back to honoring God and country.”

Ogles meets Democratic Republic Senator Heidi Campbell in November. The new district favored Donald Trump over Joe Biden by 12 percentage points in 2020.

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Voters in the Tennessee primary also cast their ballots for a Democratic gubernatorial nominee to run against Republican Gov. Bill Lee in November. The Democratic primary stayed too early to call between Nashville physician Jason Martin and Memphis City Councilman JB Smiley Jr. Friday morning.

Smiley would be the state’s first black candidate for governor. Martin, a political newcomer, said he was spurred into running by Lee’s hands-on response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lee will have a strong advantage in November in a state that has not elected a Democrat to statewide office since 2006. He defeated a Democratic opponent by 21 percentage points in 2018.

In the congressional race, Ogles garnered the support of Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and overcame a fundraising advantage of his top opponents, former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell and retired Tennessee National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead. He also benefited most from third-party groups that ran TV ads announcing his opposition to COVID-19 mandates and berating his opponents as insufficiently conservative.

Ogles described the GOP primary as “establishment against the conservative wing of the party” and said voters would get a “true conservative” in his nomination. During his victory speech, he did not shy away from inflammatory comments, calling for the impeachment of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and treason charges against the Secretary of Homeland Security over the administration’s handling of immigration issues.

Campbell, who was unopposed in her Democratic primary, said the race was “symbolic of the crossroads” the country sits at.

“One where we move forward together, working families, protecting our liberties and our future — or one where extreme politicians reject us, control our lives and rule for the wealthy few,” she said before the GOP primary for Ogles was called.

Redrawn congressional districts helped make Tennessee one of the states where Republicans hope to flip a seat to regain control of the U.S. House of Representatives. Tennessee held the only statewide election in the nation Thursday.

In the other two Nashville-area counties, Republican incumbents had no primary opponents. The new maps weight their districts in their favor.

In the new 6th District, which encompasses more of the city, Republican US Rep. John Rose brings a huge fundraising edge to a general election against Democrat Randal Cooper, who defeated a key opponent. Over in the new 7th District, Republican US Rep. Mark Green ran unopposed and is up against Democrat Odessa Kelly, also unopposed.

But in Nashville, at least, anyone who turned on a television was more likely to see ads for a Republican running for the 5th congressional district than for a candidate for anything else.

The election marked the first time voters had a say over a seat that was subject Months of Republican political mediation.

Political infighting over the carefully crafted precinct — it meanders through six boroughs — prompted the state’s Republican Party to remove three candidates from the ballot, including Trump’s choice of former State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus. One of the eliminated candidates, video producer Robby Starbuck, attempted a sign-up campaign.

A local competition stood out on Thursday.

In the Shelby County District Attorney race, Democratic challenger Steve Mulroy led incumbent Republican Amy Weirich, who garnered national attention when she prosecuted Pamela Moses, a black woman, for mistakenly registering to vote in what later became a six-year prison sentence resulted discarded. Weirich has been criticized for not saying openly whether or not she will prosecute doctors who perform abortions. Mulroy said he would give prosecutions for abortion “extremely low priority”.

Gov. Lee, meanwhile, is the first since Democratic Gov. Ned McWherter in 1990 to avoid a major challenge, said Tennessee law historian Eddie Weeks.

Weeks said he couldn’t find an African-American candidate for governor, Democrat or Republican, in the state’s history. However, he noted that in 1876 William Yardley, an African-American Knoxville official later elected to the district court, ran as an independent when the Republican Party declined to nominate a candidate for governor. Democratic Gov. James Davis Porter won re-election that year.

Tennessee didn’t have a black Democratic nominee for the US Senate until 2020.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2022-election/far-right-mayor-wins-gop-primary-nashville-us-house-seat-rcna41691 The far-right mayor wins the GOP primary for the US House of Representatives seat in Nashville

Fry Electronics Team

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