5th district

Winstead chalks up $520K in donations, plus half million from self

Kurt Winstead

Republican Kurt Winstead, a retired brigadier general in Tennessee National Guard, announced he has raised more than $520,000 since joining the race for the open 5th Congressional District seat. Winstead said in a release that he will report more than $1 million cash on hand, meaning he has matched his outside donations with personal funds.

Among Winstead’s rivals for the GOP nomination, Morgan Ortagus said she has raised nearly $600,000, while former state House Speaker Beth Harwell announced she has landed nearly $350,000.

Here’s the full release from the Winstead campaign:

Nashville, Tenn. – General Kurt Winstead (Ret.), a conservative Republican candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, announced he will have more than $1-million cash on hand in his first filing with the Federal Election Commission. 

In the effort, Winstead raised more than $520,000. 99% of those funds were from Tennessee, and 73% were from the counties within the newly drawn 5th Congressional District — Davidson, Lewis, Marshall, Maury, Williamson and Wilson Counties.

“We are so grateful for the outpouring of support in Tennessee and voters in the 5th District. Our campaign is gaining momentum, and these numbers are clear evidence of that support,” said Winstead.

The filing period, which ended on March 31, is required by law to be reported no later than April 15. Winstead, a political outsider, announced his candidacy at the end of February.

“General Winstead’s 30-plus years of service to our state and our community shows by these strong fundraising numbers. People know a leader when they see one, and it’s evident they want a conservative who knows the district and their state,” said businessman Jimmy Granbery, Finance Chair of the Winstead campaign. “This is a tremendous start for a fundraising effort that is strengthening, with many events scheduled in the coming weeks across the district.”

“This is a strong start and indicative of a winning campaign,” said Kim Kaegi, a veteran fundraiser with over thirty years of experience in Tennessee, and who is managing the fundraising efforts for the Winstead campaign.

Kurt Winstead is an eighth generation Tennessean and was raised in a home of educators and farmers. He served for more than thirty years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, including Director of the Joint Staff, Tennessee’s Staff Judge Advocate, and Brigade Command Judge Advocate during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.  Winstead is a graduate of Centre College and received a law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law. He also holds a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Kurt and his wife Beth attend St. Matthew Church in Franklin. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters raised and educated in Williamson County.

Harwell raises $350K for 5th District bid

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’s campaign announced she has raised $350,000 since joining the Republican primary for the open 5th Congressional District seat in February.

Here’s the release from the Harwell campaign:

NASHVILLE, TN – Today Republican Candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, Beth Harwell, announced her campaign has raised nearly $350,000 since jumping into the race on February 24.

The campaign reported that 98% of contributions came from within the state of Tennessee.

“I am proud to have the support of so many Tennesseans as we campaign to bring some common sense to Washington,” said Beth Harwell. “We need someone in Congress who knows the needs of Tennessee and will fight to bring back American greatness. I intend to do just that.”

Beth is a teacher who made history in the state of Tennessee by becoming the first woman to serve as the Speaker of the House. Since then, she has fought to cut a record-breaking number of taxes, build up the charter school system for our children, and stand up against far-left policies that would destroy our state.

Beth is the conservative leader that will take our Tennessee values to Washington. It is clear from the support Beth has seen across the district that she is the best choice to represent Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District in Washington.

New TNJ alert: Awaiting more Phoenix fallout after grand jury testimony, lawmakers at odds over Ford labor disclosure rules, Lee declines to sign

Reps. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) and Mark Cochran (R-Englewood) are sworn into the 112th General Assembly on Jan. 12, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The new print edition of The Tennessee Journal is out. Here is what’s in it:

— Waiting for the other shoe to drop after lawmakers’ grand jury testimony.

— Domed of Doomed? Lee’s $500 million bond proposal for new NFL stadium gets mixed reviews among lawmakers.

— Legislative roundup: Fracas over union labor building Ford plant, Lee doesn’t sign new sterilizer rules, and Jerry Sexton’s latest official Bible resolution appears headed for failure (again).

— From the campaign trail: 5th District race cast into uncertainty over residency requirement bill, lawsuit.

Also: Hagerty’s kids get stake in MLS team, Bell’s statue of limitations on smoking something in high school, and Weaver claims to title of “conscience of the House.”

As always, access the your copy of the TNJ here.

Or subscribe here.

House backs off delay on residency requirement for congressional candidates, sends bill to governor

House members attend a floor session in Nashville on Jan. 12, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A bill seeking to require congressional candidates to have lived in Tennessee for at least three years before they can seek office is on its way to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk after the House dropped its effort to have the measure apply to the election cycle after this one.

If signed into law, the measure could imperil the 5th District candidacies of former U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus and music video producer Robby Starbuck. Ortagus, who moved to Nashville last year, has been endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Starbuck, a California transplant, has the backing of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).

A legal challenge is also widely anticipated because the U.S. Constitution only requires candidates to be at least 25 years old and live in the state they are hoping to represent.

Other GOP candidates for the open 5th District seat include former state House Speaker Beth Harwell, businessman Baxter Lee, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, and retired National Guard general Kurt Winstead.

Harwell names campaign team for 5th District bid

Former Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville) confers with then-House Speaker Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) March 29, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former state House Speaker Beth Harwell has announced Bob Brown, a former chair of the Williamson County Election Commission, will manage her campaign for the Republican nomination in the new-look 5th Congressional District. Chasen Bullock and Alex Meyer of Washington-area consulting firm TLC Political will serve as general consultants. Investment banker Denny Bottorff will serve as Harwell’s campaign treasurer.

Read about staffing updates on other campaigns here.

Here is the release from the Harwell camp:

NASHVILLE, TN – Beth Harwell announced the team behind her campaign for the U.S. House on Thursday. Harwell is running for Tennessee’s new 5th Congressional District which encompasses Nashville.

“I am proud to have such a strong team working with me on this race to help me bring Tennessee common sense to Washington and fix America so that we can get our economy back on track, balance our budget, and secure our borders,” said Beth Harwell.

Bob Brown will be the Campaign Manager. He served as the Chairman of the Williamson County Election Commission from 2011 – 2022 as well as on the Davidson County Election Commission from 1989-1994. Bob is also a healthcare executive in Nashville.

TLC Political’s Chasen Bullock and Alex Meyer will be the general consultants. TLC Political is a Virginia based, full-service agency for Republican candidates, committees, and causes. Chasen Bullock, a Senior Political Strategist, served as the National Political Director at former Speaker Paul Ryan’s SuperPAC, the Congressional Leadership Fund, and has managed Dr. Rand Paul’s re-election campaign in Kentucky following the 2016 Presidential election. Alex Meyer, a Senior Political Strategist, was the Campaign Manager for Congressional and U.S. Senate races across the country. He also served as Political Data Analyst, Political-Data Liaison, Director of Sisters Committee Support, and Missouri State Director for the Republican National Committee (RNC). For more on TLC Political go to TLCPolitical.com.

Rachel Barrett and Company’s Rachel Barrett and Reid Witcher will serve as the in-state fundraisers. Rachel has been involved with fundraising, political consulting and communications in Tennessee, Washington, D.C., and the Southeast for over 20 years. She has previously served as the
Southeast Finance Director for Mitt Romney, as well as a consultant for the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). For more on Rachel & Reid go to RachelBarrettandCompany.com.

FP1’s Chris LaCivita and Annie Kelly Kuhle will be providing advertising services. FP1 is a full-service campaign consulting and advertising firm that has won 87 Pollies and 50 Reed Awards since its inception. Chris LaCivita is a partner at FP1, a former combat Marine veteran and seasoned political operative. He has served as Political Director for the NRSC, Senior Advisor for the RNC in 2016, and Executive Director of the Republican Party of Virginia. Annie Kelly Kuhle is a partner at FP1 Strategies, veteran campaign manager and strategist. She has served as a Regional Political Director for both the NRSC and NRCC. For more on FP1 go to fp1.com.

1892 LLC is a national polling firm that has conducted research for presidential, gubernatorial, senate, and congressional candidates around the country. For more on 1892, visit 1892llc.com.

TAG Strategies will be serving as the digital fundraising team. TAG is a full-service marketing, consulting and creative agency focused on building cutting-edge digital and fundraising solutions for candidates. TAG has raised over $3 billion for their candidates since their founding. For more on TAG Strategies go to TAGStrategies.co.

Denny Bottorff will serve as the campaign’s Treasurer. Denny is an American businessman, banker and philanthropist. He was chairman and chief executive officer of the First American Corporation and he served as the chairman of the Tennessee Valley Authority from 2010 to 2012. He is the co-founder and general partner of Council Capital, a private equity and venture capital firm based in Nashville, Tennessee. He is also the co-founder and the former chairman of CapStar Bank.

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.

Winstead names Devaney, Kaegi to campaign team

Kurt Winstead

Retired Tennessee National Guard general Kurt Winstead has named former state Repubican Party chair Chris Devaney as the senior adviser to his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District. Kim Kaegi will serve as his fundraising consultant. Both previously worked on Republican Bill Lee’s successful gubernatorial campaign in 2018.

Several candidates are running for the open seat that was redrawn to make it heavily Republican leaning his fall. Fromer U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus has Ward Baker advising her bid, while Chip Saltsman is consulting for Williamson County businessman Baxter Lee. Former House Speaker Beth Harwell’s campaign announcement was issued by the Lukens Co., a Washington-area firm that has done direct mail work for Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential bid, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Here’s the full release from the Winstead camp:

Nashville, Tenn — General Kurt Winstead (ret.) announced today his senior campaign team to win the race for the new 5th Congressional District. The team includes:

— Jimmy Granbery, Chairman of the H.G. Hill Company and CEO of H.G. Hill Realty Co., will serve as finance chairman.

— Chris Devaney, former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman, who will serve as senior advisor to the campaign.

— Kim Kaegi, a veteran of numerous successful campaigns across Tennessee, will serve as finance consultant to the campaign.

“Our campaign is building momentum across the District every day. I’m so grateful for the team we are putting together to achieve victory on Election Day,” said General Winstead.

Chris Devaney is a former Tennessee Republican Party Chairman who served in senior roles on multiple winning campaigns in the Volunteer State, including managing Governor Bill Lee’s successful campaign in 2018.

Kim Kaegi has over thirty years of statewide fundraising experience across Tennessee. Kaegi has worked for dozens of campaigns including Governor Bill Lee, Governor Bill Haslam, Senator Bill Hagerty, and Congressional campaigns of Diane Black, Tim Burchett, Stephen Fincher, David Kustoff, and Phil Roe.

Successful Nashville businessman Jimmy Granbery will serve as finance chairman for the Winstead Campaign.

“Now more than ever, we need leaders with real world experience. General Winstead has the kind of background and conservative Tennessee values we need in Congress,” said Granbery. “As a lifelong Tennessean, I want our next Congressman to truly represent Middle Tennessee. community, state, and nation. I’m proud to support a conservative leader like Kurt Winstead.”

Granbery is Chairman of the H.G. Hill Company and a fourth generation family member of the 127 year old Middle Tennessee business. He also serves as Chair and CEO of H.G. Hill Realty Company, which has an extensive real estate portfolio. Besides his business experience, Granbery also has an extensive civic background having served on numerous boards in the state.

Kurt Winstead is an eighth generation Tennessean and was raised in a home of educators and farmers. He served for more than thirty years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, including Director of the Joint Staff, Tennessee’s Staff Judge Advocate, and Brigade Command Judge Advocate during Operation Iraqi Freedom III.

Winstead is a graduate of Centre College and received a law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law. He also holds a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Kurt and his wife Beth attend St. Matthew Church in Franklin. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters raised and educated in Williamson County.

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Paid for by Kurt Winstead for Congress

Watson aide Wittum leaning toward congressional bid in new 5th District

Senate Finance Chairman Bo Watson (R-Chattanooga) and other check their watches awaiting the time for Gov. Bill Lee, right, to enter the House chamber to deliver his first State of the State address in Nashville on March 4, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Tres Wittum, a research analyst to state Senate Finance Chair Bo Watson (R-Chattanooga), is considering a bid for the newly drawn 5th Congressional District.

Wittum, who once mulled a Republican primary challenge of U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann in the 3rd District, was among potential 5th District candidates introducing themselves at a Wilson County Republican Party event over the weekend.

“I have worked in the Tennessee legislature for 11 years,” he said. “I do serve the chairman of Senate Finance, Ways, and Means, who is a tough, tough, tough fiscal hawk. So when it comes to budgeting, believe me, I have been educated by the best.”

Wittum was briefly the chair of the Davidson County Republican Party in 2017, but was ousted by the GOP’s state executive committee after a challenge to his bona fides for failing to have voted in enough statewide primaries.

Wittum noted that he first came to Tennessee to work on the 2009 Hannah Montana movie.

“It’s kind of like deja vu. It’s like, you worked on movie where you’re trying to save a community through Tennessee values away from the big construction from New York and LA, which is interesting, because it looks like we’re probably gonna be doing that here in this congressional race.”

“Politics is like Hollywood for the ugly,” he said. “So, here here I am. And I’m ready to play. Thank you.”

Those running for the Republican nomination so far include former state House Speaker Beth Harwell, former U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, music video producer Robby Starbuck, and retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead. Businessman Baxter Lee has filed papers to raise money, but hasn’t formally announced his candidacy.

Winstead makes 5th District bid official

Kurt Winstead

Kurt Winstead, an attorney and retired general in the Tennessee National Guard, is the latest Republican candidate to join the open race for the new-look 5th Congressional District.

Winstead joins a field that includes former state House Speaker Beth Harwell, former U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, and music video producer Robby Starbuck.

Here’s the release from the Winstead campaign:

Nashville, Tenn — Brigadier General Kurt Winstead (Ret.) formally announced his candidacy to run for Congress in the newly drawn 5th Congressional District in the Republican Primary.

General Winstead is an eighth generation Tennessean who has lived and worked in the 5th District for over 30 years. Winstead served in the Tennessee National Guard for three decades, including a deployment in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“In the wake of an unprecedented invasion from Russia, now is the time for leaders in Congress who have real experience. We need people who understand our military and have an actual national security background — this is not the time for on the job training,” said Winstead.

Kurt Winstead is a father, successful businessman, servant leader, man of deep faith, and a conservative political outsider who served in the military overseas and represents everything good about America. Kurt, an attorney by trade, and his wife Beth have been married 34 years and chose Middle Tennessee as their home over thirty years ago building their businesses, raising their family, and giving back to their church and community.

“My family taught me the importance of faith, family, and service. I’ve lived those principles my entire life, and I want to bring those same conservative values to Congress. This is a pivotal moment for our country, and we need someone who understands Tennessee values, and someone who actually knows the Middle Tennessee community,” said Winstead.

General Winstead is 100% pro-life, a proud defender of the Second Amendment, and will fight to stop illegal immigration and secure our border.

“We must be put America First. Joe Biden has put our country in its weakest position since the days of the Carter Administration. Inflation is out of control and illegal immigration is our greatest national security threat. It is our responsibility to return America to a place of strength and respect in the world,” said Winstead.

Kurt was raised in Tennessee in a home of educators and farmers who knew the importance of hard work, integrity, and keeping your word. He served for more than thirty years in the Tennessee Army National Guard, including serving as Director of the Joint Staff, Tennessee’s Staff Judge Advocate, and Brigade Command Judge Advocate during Operation Iraqi Freedom III. All of this service to his country while also building a successful law practice in Nashville.

Kurt is a graduate of Centre College and received a law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law. He also holds a master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College. Kurt and his wife Beth attend St. Matthew Church in Franklin. They are the proud parents of two adult daughters raised and educated in Williamson County.

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.

Pompeo endorses former spokeswoman Ortagus in 5th District

Morgan Ortagus

Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has endorsed former spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District.

Ortagus landed the endorsement of former President Donald Trump before formally announcing her bid earlier this month. Some state lawmakers have chafed at her candidacy because she and her husband have only lived in Nashville for a year. A proposal to require a three-year residency to run in congressional primaries is awaiting a floor vote in the Senate, but has yet to gain any traction in the House.

“I’ll leave state matters to the state legislature,” Ortagus said in a statement last week. “I’m focused on earning the support of the 5th District Tennesseans who want a conservative fighter to defend President Trump’s agenda.”

Here’s the release from Pompeo’s Champion American Values PAC:

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today endorsed Morgan Ortagus for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District. 

Speaking about his endorsement, Secretary Mike Pompeo said, “A Republican majority in the House of Representatives is critical to stopping Joe Biden’s extreme agenda, and that means we’ll need to win in multiple Democrat-held seats throughout the country. In Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District, I can’t think of a stronger candidate than Morgan Ortagus. Morgan played a critical role in our administration’s efforts to put America first and to restore American greatness to our foreign policy. She has served her country honorably in the executive branch and in our military, and I know she’ll continue to champion the American values we share in Congress. I encourage all freedom-loving Tennesseans in the Fifth Congressional District to join me in fully supporting Morgan in the primary this August.”

“I’m humbled to be endorsed by Secretary Pompeo, a man I was honored to work for on behalf of the American people,” said Morgan Ortagus. “Together, we stood firmly against authoritarian regimes like China, Russia, Iran, and Cuba both at home and around the world. In Congress, I’ll continue to fight for freedom and to preserve the American Dream. The forces of communism seek to forever snuff out the flame of liberty– Mike Pompeo and I won’t let that happen.”