5th district

Winstead dips toe into negative ads

Republican congressional candidate Kurt Winstead is dipping his toe into the attack ads that have characterized the closing phase of the 5th District race. The commercial follows a new ad from Harwell, a former state House speaker, attacking Ogles as a “tax raiser” and a lobbyist. Ogles, the mayor of Maury County, is a former lobbyists for the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Winstead, a retired brigadier general in the Tennessee National Guard, starts out his latest spot with photos of rival Republicans Beth Harwell and Andy Ogles, calling them “career politicians.” Here’s the transcript:

NARRATOR: Our choice for Congress? Two career politicians or tough conservative Republican general Kurt Winstead, an outsider. Winstead’s plan for America will slam our border shut. Return a gallon of gas to two bucks. Winstead will put our country first.

WINSTEAD: If you want a politician, I’m not your guy. If you want to fighter for conservative values, I’d really appreciate your vote. I’m retired brigadier general Kurt Winstead. I approved this message.

The ad features Winstead perusing the border with Mexico and footage of gas being pumped into a vehicle. Here it is:

Early voting down so far from last two gubernatorial cycles

Early voting through the first six days of the period was down 23% compared with the last gubernatorial election cycle in 2018 and 22% from 2014. Republican turnout has been 24% less than four years ago, when Gov. Bill Lee was first nominated for governor in a competitive primary. Democratic early voting is down 30% over 2018.

Shelby County has seen the biggest increase in early voting — more than 5,000 more than in 2018 — amid a competitive race for district attorney general between incumbent Amy Weirich and Democratic challenger Steve Mulroy.

Republican voting has been down by 29% in the new 5th Congressional District, which is made up of parts of Davidson (-28%), Williamson (-21%), and Wilson (-52%), and all of Lewis (-16%), Marshall (-15%), and Maury (-25%) counties. But voting is up 2% compared with 2014.

Here’s the full breakdown from the Secretary of State’s office:

from 2018
from 2014
Van Buren50778%39%

Ogles claimed he raised $453K in first 30 days, but collected only $247K in entire quarter

Turns out Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles wasn’t being truthful when he announced in May he had raised $453,000 in the first 30 days of his campaign for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District. After missing Federal Election Commission’s disclosure deadline by more than a week, Ogles finally reported Saturday he had raised $247,087 throughout the entire quarter.

Another $320,000 came in the form of a loan from the candidate on April 15. Lest anyone think Ogles was counting the loan toward his total in May, he told a reporter at the time his haul didn’t include any loans.

Ogles raised another $17,315 in the pre-primary period and spent a total of $301,063 and had balance of $283,338. But $53,534 of his cash on hand is reserved for the general election, meaning he had a $229,804 balance for the primary.

New TNJ edition alert: Ogles files a lawsuit, but not his campaign finance disclosure

Andy Ogles is suing to stop this attack ad in the 5th District race.

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

— Outside super PACs ramp up attack ads in 5th District, and one candidate takes his complaints to court

— Andy Ogles, who has been targeted for his late property tax, has now missed the campaign finance disclosure deadline by a week.

— A look at key donors to Beth Harwell and Kurt Winstead (and some who hedged their bets by giving to both).

— From the campaign trail: Todd Warner cries foul over mailers highlighting FBI raid and connections to “disgraced former speaker,” competitive primaries for two open House seats in Williamson County, and Scott Cepicky’s fight for reelection.

Also: Larry Arnn says he “will likely say it again,” John Mark Windle retires from the National Guard, Torrey Harris gets arrested, and Registry member Tom Lawless blasts the attorney general’s office.

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

Or subscribe here.

How much will Ogles’ late disclosures cost him?

The deadline to submit campaign finance disclosures with the Federal Election Commission was Friday. There was still no sign Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles’ filing as of Tuesday, the third day of early voting in the Republican primary for the 5th Congressional District.

We had a look at the FEC website to figure out what sort of penalty Ogles will face for his tardiness, and it appears he will have to pony up a minimum of $5,242 based on the fundraising levels he announced shortly after joining the race.

Ogles declared in May that he had raised $453,000 in the first 30 of his campaign. The FEC’s administrative fines are calculated on the basis of the total money a candidate has raised and spent during the period in question. He’s presumably brought in more money than the originally announced total and he’s been running a TV ad in fairly regular rotation, so the aggregate is likely to be significantly higher. You can calculate your own estimated penalties here.

The Ogles campaign told the Tennessee Star it was having trouble retrieving bank records. His failure to file his disclosure on time comes as he is the subject of an attack ad hitting him for repeatedly missing the deadline to pay his property taxes on time.

Here’s the backstory on the Andy Ogles attack ad

A distinctive attack ad claims Republican congressional candidate Andy Ogles failed to pay his property taxes nine times. The spot funded by the Tenenssee Conservatives PAC, which was founded by supporters of former candidate Morgan Ortagus, cites Williamson County property tax records as the source for the hit.

Here’s the transcript:

Narrator 1: “Andy Ogles failed to to pay his property taxes nine times.”

Narrator 2: “Nine times?”

Narrator 1: “That’s right. Any Ogles failed to pay his property taxes nine times.”

Narrator 2: “Nine times.”

Narrator 1: “But as county mayor, Ogles supported increasing the sales tax and didn’t oppose a property tax hike or a marriage tax. Andy Ogles failed to pay his property taxes nine times.”

Narrator 2: “Nine times.”

Narrator 1: “Andy Ogles didn’t pay his taxes but supported raising yours. Tennessee Conservatives PA is responsible for the content this message.”

We delved into the records to see whether we could replicate the claims of the ad. We found that Ogles appeared as a co-owner of a Franklin home between 2005 and 2015, though for reasons unknown he was not listed on the rolls in the 2013 tax year. While it’s true that property tax payments were late on nine occasions, that includes years where the Ogles family was as little as one or two days behind the deadline. But in other years it took as many as 194 and 322 days to pay the tax bill.

Here’s what the records show:

Tax YearAmountDue DatePayment DateDays lateInterest
* In 2013, Andy Ogles is replaced by Monica Ogles as a co-owner, but he is back on the rolls for 2014.

So did Andy Ogles fail to pay his property taxes nine times, as the ad claims? Not exactly. He did pay, albeit in a tardy fashion. And in some years he was later than others.

About those 5th District fundraising totals…

Kurt Winstead was the only Republican candidate in the 5th District Congressional race to tout his fundraising haul in a press release before the official reporting deadline. The move gave him some room for, shall we say, creativity in his numbers.

“Winstead will report having nearly $580,000 in receipts in the quarter, bringing the campaign total to over $1.5 million,” the release said.

Winstead’s report shows he received $382,480 from donors and loaned his campaign $660,000 during the second quarter. But he also paid back $460,000 of an earlier loan, leaving him with a net $582,480 in the period. Add the $519,625 in contributions in the first quarter and the $20,000 remaining from his original loan, and his total is $1.1 million since joining the race.

Meanwhile, rival Republican Beth Harwell raised $421,360 in the quarter, a 19% increase over her first-quarter collections. She has yet to loan her campaign any money and her total donations to date are $775,287. Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles had yet to file his first report as of Friday evening.

UPDATE: The deadline came and went and there are still no Ogles filings available on the disclosure site.

PAC linked to Club for Growth hits Harwell, Winstead in 5th District race

The School Freedom Fund, a PAC tied to the Washington-based Club for Growth, is sending out mailers attacking Beth Harwell and Kurt Winstead as not sufficiently Republican to represent the state in the 5th Congressional District.

Harwell is a former speaker of the state House of Representatives and a onetime chair of the Tennessee Republican Party. Winstead is a retired brigadier general in the Tennessee National Guard. According to the group, both are “beholden to liberal Democrats.” The mailers cite Harwell’s vote for then-Gov. Bill Haslam’s 6-cent gas tax hike in 2017 and her endorsement from the Tennessee Education Association, the state’s largest teachers’ union, during her unsuccessful bid for governor in 2018. Winstead is criticized for giving more than $2,500 in campaign donations to Democrats (unmentioned are the more than $7,000 he has given to Republicans over the last four years, including $3,000 to Republican Gov. Bill Lee).

The mailers appear to try to boost the prospects of Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. The Club for Growth was last active in a Tennessee congressional race in 2020 in the open 1st District race, backing former state Rep. Timothy Hill (R-Blountville). Diana Harshbarger won the nomination with 19% of the vote, compared with 16.7% for Hill and 16.1% for state Sen. Rusty Crowe.

Campbell says she has raised nearly $300K for Democratic bid for 5th District seat

State Sen. Heidi Campbell says she has raised nearly $300,000 for her campaign to succeed U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a fellow Nashville Democrat, in the 5th Congressional District. The seat was redrawn this year to split the capital city into three heavily-Republican districts.

Here’s the release from the Campbell campaign:

NASHVILLE—Tennessee Sen. Heidi Campbell’s campaign for the 5th Congressional District announced raising $297,630 in less than three months of fundraising. 

The campaign says it secured contributions from nearly 1,000 donors at the FEC second quarter deadline on June 30. 

“Sen. Campbell is building a campaign that’s committed to solving problems and making life better for Middle Tennessee families,” said campaign treasurer Chip Forrester. “Donors, from the grassroots up, are showing their support and we’re confident we will have the resources this fall to present a clear contrast between Sen. Campbell’s hopeful vision for our country and whichever ideological agenda stumbles out of the GOP primary.”

Winstead to report $580K haul in 2nd quarter

Kurt Winstead (Photo credit: Winstead campaign)

Congressional candidate Kurt Winstead says he will report $580,000 in receipts in the second quarter for his campaign for the Republican nomination in the new 5th District.

Here’s the release from the Winstead camp:

Nashville, Tenn. – The campaign of Brigadier General Kurt Winstead (Ret.), a conservative Republican candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, announced another successful quarter in fundraising showing clear momentum in the race.

In the latest filing to be reported to the Federal Election Commission, Winstead will report having receipts of nearly $580,000 in the quarter, bringing the campaign total to over $1.5 million. His fundraising efforts have far outpaced any of the other candidates in the Republican Primary.

“We have serious momentum here in the district. Our team is working around the clock ahead of the August 4th primary. We want to thank the outpouring of support our campaign is receiving across the district,” said Winstead.

The filing period, which ended on June 30, is required by law to be reported no later than July 15, which is also the first day of early voting.

“I’m seeing a lot of enthusiasm for General Winstead on the campaign trail. He is the only candidate with real momentum in this race,” said Jimmy Granbery.

Heading into early voting, Winstead is showing growing strength, not only by his fundraising numbers but also through his ad blitz, a growing grassroots team, and the recent endorsements by key community leaders such as the sheriffs of Williamson and Wilson Counties.

The majority of the new 5th Congressional District includes southern and eastern Davidson County (Antioch, Bellevue, Belle Meade, Green Hills, Hermitage, Oak Hill, and others). It also includes parts of Williamson (Arrington, Brentwood, College Grove, Nolensville, Thompson’s Station, and others) and Wilson Counties (Greater Lebanon and Mt. Juliet), plus the counties of Maury, Marshall and Lewis Counties.


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