Harwell joins open 5th District race

House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) awaits Gov. Bill Haslam’s final State of the State address in Nashville on Jan. 29, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Associated Press)

Former state House Speaker Beth Harwell has joined the race for the Republican nomination in the open 5th Congressional District.

Harwell, the first female speaker in the history of the General Assembly, left the chamber in 2018 to run for governor.

Other declared candidates so far include former U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus and music video producer Robby Starbuck. Others pondering bids include businessman Baxter Lee, attorney and retired National Guard general Kurt Winstead and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles.

Democratic incumbent Jim Cooper announced his retirement after state lawmakers split up Nashville into three heavily Republican districts.

Here’s the release from the Harwell campaign:

NASHVILLE, TN– Beth Harwell announced today that she is running for the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional district. A life-long Republican and long-time Nashville resident, Beth is a mother, educator, and former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives. 

“As Speaker, we rebuilt the Tennessee economy by eliminating taxes, promoting school choice, and balancing our budget. Before that, I taught American history – real American history,” said Beth Harwell. “Now I’m running for Congress to fix America by bringing Tennessee common sense to Washington – they could learn a thing or two from the way we do things.  It’s time to rein in our federal government, stop the fiscal insanity, and return power to the states.”

Today’s America has been put through the ringer as the Biden Administration has driven inflation through the roof and spent our tax dollars on pet projects. They have taken control over our children’s classrooms and destroyed our businesses with mandates and overbearing regulations. Tennesseans don’t need more taxes, red-tape, and government overreach into their families. It’s time the 5th district had a representative who will fix our economy, secure our border, and ensure parents can be involved with their children’s education. 

Beth is the only proven conservative leader and reformer in this race. As Speaker of the House, Tennessee permanently banned a state income tax and eliminated the gift, death, and Hall income taxes, resulting in the largest amount of tax cuts in state history to the tune of over $5 billion dollars. She led the fight for school choice in Tennessee, empowering parents with a greater voice in their children’s education. Beth was an early proponent and ardent supporter of public charter schools and homeschooling options for families across the state.

The 5th congressional district includes portions of Davidson, Wilson, and Williamson Counties and all of Lewis, Marshall, and Maury Counties. 

To learn more about Beth visit BethHarwell.com.

About Beth. As a life-long Republican, Beth played a key role in expanding the party in Tennessee. As Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party, she directed the strategy that saw Republicans capture a majority in the State Senate for the first time in nearly 150 years. In her time as the House Republican Caucus Whip and Campaign Committee Chair, House Republicans captured the four seats necessary to take the majority in the Tennessee House of Representatives. In 2011, Beth became the first female Speaker of the House in the Southeast, a position she held for eight years before being appointed to the Tennessee Valley Authority Board of Directors by President Donald Trump in 2019, a position she still holds. She also currently serves as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Middle Tennessee State University. Beth and her husband Sam live in Nashville where they raised their three children. She is a graduate of Lipscomb University and Vanderbilt University.