1st Congressional District

Faison won’t seek vacated congressional seat

Rep. Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) speaks to colleagues after being elected House Republican Caucus chair in Nashville on Aug. 22, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

State Rep. Jeremy Faison, the new chairman of the House Republican Caucus, has announced he won’t run for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Phil Roe (R-Johnson City) this year. Faison will instead run for re-election to the House District 11 seat he has represented since 2010.

Faison won a four-way race for caucus chair after Rep. Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville) was elected speaker. Faison is known for his outsized persona, his longtime support for legalizing medical marijuana, and his uncanny vote-counting ability.

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.

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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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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