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Former Kingsport Mayor Clark announces congressional bid in 1st District

John Clark (Photo credit: Clark campaign)

Former Kingsport Mayor John Clark has filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to start raising money for his bid to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City). Clark’s announcement comes amid decisions by state Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) and state Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) against running for the seat.

Clark told WJHL-TV on Monday that his decision to run for the seat wasn’t contingent on Roe retiring.

“I was going to move forward regardless,” he said. “But as it turns out Congressman Roe made it his announcement and the timing couldn’t be better.”

Here’s the full release from the Clark campaign:

Kingsport, Tenn.— Former Kingsport Mayor John Clark announced today his candidacy for Tennessee’s 1st District congressional seat. Clark has filed the required Federal Election Commission documents needed to compete in the August 2020 Republican primary election.

Clark served on Kingsport’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) for seven years, three years as alderman and four as mayor. His term ended in July 2019. “During my time on the BMA, we worked with many community and business leaders to improve the quality of life for all residents, thereby ensuring a prosperous future for our city. We achieved a lot on both fronts and I’m very excited to do the same for the 1st District,” said Clark.

Clark said he is running for congress because, “I have a passion for public service. Making a positive difference in the lives of my fellow Northeast Tennesseans truly energizes me. My focus is on conservative Republican values with a special emphasis on jobs, healthcare, and expanded opportunities for veterans and farmers. I will be a strong voice in support of President Trump’s policies and will fight against big government and for expanded freedoms for all Americans.” 

Clark is a man of faith and a dedicated family man, businessman, and public servant. After a 36-year career in business, Clark said, “Community service is the most personally rewarding experience of my life. Working with people to improve the lives of others is a passion of mine. I would be honored to serve the people of the 1st District and am committed to giving my all to the residents of our region.”

Clark is excited to begin this campaign, which will be his fourth but first full-time campaign. His family, particularly his wife Etta, will be very involved in his campaign. Clark said, “I look forward to having my family and friends actively participate and experience this opportunity with me. I am ready to work hard over the next eight months to meet as many voters as possible throughout the 1st District. I’m all-in for the 1st District. We can do more and we can do better for our residents and businesses. I have the experience, passion, and energy to bring more high paying jobs to our citizens and ensure our freedoms are protected.”

Lundberg out of 1st District race, Crowe in?

State Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) is the latest sitting lawmaker to bow out of the running for the 1st Congressional District seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City).

I have been greatly humbled by the visits, phone calls, texts, messages and words of encouragement to run for congress. …

Posted by Jon Lundberg on Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Lundberg’s decision follows an announcement by state House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison of Cosby that he won’t run for the seat.

Meanwhile, WJHL-TV reports fellow state Sen. Rusty Crowe (R-Johnson City) said he is now considering a bid after receiving several calls encouraging him to run.

“I believe I’ve helped improve the state of Tennessee for 30 years, and would be interested in the opportunity to work on the federal level and represent the district,” Crowe said.

Crowe, 72, wouldn’t have to give up his seat in the state Senate to run because his four-year term isn’t up until 2022. Lundberg wouldn’t have had that same luxury, as his seat is up for reelection this year.

The Tennessean reported last week  that former Kingsport Mayor John Clark has announced he will run. Former state Senate Speaker Ron Ramsey, former House Minority Leader Jason Mumpower, and former Safety Commissioner David Purkey said they won’t make a bid.

Roe announces plan to retire from Congress, setting off mad scramble

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City) announced Friday he won’t seek a seventh term in Congress, a decision likely to set off a mad scramble among potential successors. State lawmakers expected to consider bids include House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison of Cosby and fellow GOP Reps. David Hawk of Greeneville, Timothy Hill of Blountville, and maybe even Micah Van Huss of Jonesborough. Jon Lundberg of Bristol is the only sitting  state Senate member believed to be mulling it over. Add to that a laundry list of current and former mayors from northeast Tennessee district. It’s likely to be a wild ride.

For an in-depth look at previous races and potential candidates in the 1st District, see the Dec. 6 print edition of The Tennessee Journal.

Here’s Roe’s full statement:

Serving East Tennesseans these past 11 years has been the honor of my life, and I will be forever grateful for the trust my friends and neighbors put in me to represent them. As someone who practiced medicine for over 30 years, I said I would serve five or six terms because I never intended this job to be a second career. After prayerful consideration, I have decided to retire at the end of the 116th Congress.

First and foremost, I want to thank my family. No one could do this job without a loving a supportive family, and I look forward to spending more time at home with my wife Clarinda, my adult children and my grandchildren.

As a veteran, I was honored to be selected to chair the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs in 2017. I had one, three and six-year legislative goals for the committee: to increase access to care, improve the electronic health records system, review VA assets to ensure an effective use of resources, and bring true accountability to the department. I never could have imagined that we would accomplish all that in my first term leading the committee – in large part because of the leadership of President Trump. In particular, I was proud to author the MISSION Act – a transformative piece of legislation to ensure veterans have the ability to receive the best possible care now, and in the future – and the Forever GI Bill – to ensure veterans never lose access to the education benefits they have earned. I’ll leave Congress at the end of the year knowing that our nation’s heroes are better served today because of our work. I am still hopeful that, before the 116th Congress adjourns, we will pass important reforms that improve outreach to veterans in crisis to address the suicide epidemic.

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Roe says he’s undecided about re-election bid to Congress

Just when everyone thought U.S. Rep. Phil Roe was certain to run for another term, the Johnson City Republican has cast new doubt on those prospects.

Roe, 74, told WJHL-TV that he will gather with his family over Christmas to decide about whether to seek a seventh term.

Rep. Phil Roe considering re-election plans, will make decision at Christmas

“The hardest part of my job is not what you would think about going to Washington,” Roe said. “That’s what we do. That’s what I’m hired to do. But it’s the travel – getting on four airplane flights a week and being away from family. That, to me, is the hard part.”

Roe had a more than $445,000 balance in his campaign account at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Protesters disrupt Roe campaign event; he vows to ‘bury’ Democrats

Over a dozen people protesting President Trump’s immigration policies “crashed” U.S. Rep. Phil Roe’s official announcement of his re-election campaign Monday, reports the Johnson City Press. One of them was a Democrat seeking her party’s nomination for the 1st Congressional seat. Roe subsequently told supporters he wants to “bury” Democrats in November.

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Roe balks at backing Trump administration move to eliminate mandated health insurance coverage of pre-existing conditions

Many Republican congressmen – including at least one member of the Tennessee delegation — are unhappy that the Trump administration has moved to eliminate a provision in the Obamacare law that assures health insurance coverage for those with pre-existing conditions, reports Politico.

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Roe challenger opens a campaign headquarters

U.S. Army veteran Todd McKinley, who is challenging U.S. Rep. Phil Roe in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary, has set up a campaign headquarters and is voicing optimism about his chances despite a $475,000 lead the incumbent has in campaign money, reports the Johnson City Press.

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Roe will run for reelection

After months of professed indecision, Republican U.S. Rep. Phil Roe announced Thursday he will run for reelection to a sixth term representing Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District.

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Trio mentioned as possible candidates to succeed Roe demur — at least for now

The Johnson City Press contacted state Reps. David Hawk and Matthew Hill, along with Washington County Mayor Dan Eldridge, after their names were mentioned in a Washington report as prospective candidates for the 1st Congressional District seat, should incumbent U.S. Rep. Phil Roe decide not to seek reelection. Perhaps predictably, the newspaper reports none of them said yes to a run at this point; but they didn’t give an absolute no, either.

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Roe remains undecided about reelection; speculation underway on candidates to succeed him

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe said in Washington Monday that he will decide in the “next week or so” whether to run for a sixth term, reports Roll Call, adding that there’s already some speculation underway on who might run to replace him. Names dropped include two state representatives and Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten.

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