5th district

5th District ad watch: The ’ole general’ and the southern border

Two Republicans vying for the nomination in the new 5th Congressional District have new ads out touting their conservative credentials. Kurt Winstead dubs himself the ”ole general,” while Beth Harwell calls for finishing former President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Here’s what Winstead says in his ad:

Joe Biden’s America? Shocking gas prices, painful inflation, open borders, immigration run rampant. My America? Well, I grew up on a small farm, conservative Tennessee values, country first, don’t spend more than you bring in, defend the defenseless, do what the Bible says. It just might take an ole General to bring America back in line. I’m retired Brigadier General Kurt Winstead and I approved this message.

And here’s the transcript on the Harwell spot:

“I’m Beth Harwell. America’s illegal immigration crisis starts here at our southern border, but it ends in our own backyard. Soaring crime, human trafficking, opioids and fentanyl in the hands of our kids. I’ve spent my life fighting for strong families, safe neighborhoods, and Tennessee values. In Congress, I’ll fight to finish President Trump’s wall, fight for tougher penalties on criminals, and ban sanctuary cities. I’m Beth Harwell and I approved this message because we must secure this border.”

New TNJ alert: Starbuck stymied, Curcio’s transformation, and Fox’s departure

The Tennessee Supreme Court building is seen in Nashville on Dec.8, 2021. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Tennessee Journal is out with a new print edition after taking a break from the inferno-like temperatures of Nashville last week. Here is what’s in the latest version:

— Starbuck stymied by supremes, 5th District’s GOP field finally set.

— McWhorter comes back to succeed Economic Development chief Rolfe.

— Curcio kick-starts transformation from House chairman to lobbyist.

— Ubiquitous no more? Bill Fox hangs ’em up after 27 years as revenue and economic impact estimator.

Also: An overhaul of the Tennessee Municipal League board, Gerald McCormick’s ALS diagnosis, Franklin Haney pivots to solar, and Cooper laments curbside intoxicants in downtown Nashville.

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

Or subscribe here.

As a final look back to our summer travels, here is photo of Buoy the news retriever lounging on the Atlantic coast.

Guess who’s back? Chancery court sides with Starbuck

It all fits together somehow.

A Nashville judge has ruled the Tennessee Republican Party violated the state open meetings act when it kicked Robby Starbuck off the primary ballot in the 5th Congressional District race. In declaring the removal void, Chancellor Russell Perkins ruled that Starbuck’s name should be restored.

An appeal appears all but certain. But the the clock is ticking. According to the Attorney General’s Office, the deadline to finalize ballots is June 10.

The ruling follows below:

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Harwell gets backing from anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List

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, Tennessee Journal)

Former state House Speaker Beth Harwell of Nashville has landed an endorsement from the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. Harwell is running for the Republican nomination in the 5th Congressional District.

Here’s the release from the Harwell campaign:

NASHVILLE, TN – Today, pro-life organization Susan B. Anthony’s List (SBA) announced its endorsement of Congressional District 5 candidate and former Speaker of the Tennessee House, Beth Harwell.

Hon. Marilyn Musgrave, SBA List’s vice president of government affairs, said, “Beth Harwell is a faithful champion of the unborn who proves that pro-life is truly pro-woman. Beth’s dynamic efforts as House speaker led to a pro-life constitutional amendment, strongly approved by voters, paving the way for swift enactment of life-saving laws. She did not rest, but immediately put her support behind health and safety requirements to hold the profit-driven abortion industry accountable, as well as legislation to protect women’s right to see an ultrasound and hear their baby’s heartbeat. Finally, under her leadership Tennessee successfully defunded abortion businesses of taxpayer dollars. In Congress she will stand up to pro-abortion Democrats for Tennessee’s pro-life values, and we couldn’t be prouder to support her.”  

Per SBA’s press release, “SBA List is a network of 900,000 pro-life Americans nationwide, dedicated to ending abortion by electing national leaders and advocating for laws that save lives, with a special calling to promote pro-life women leaders.”

“Thank you Susan B. Anthony’s list for putting your faith in me to stand up for the lives of unborn Americans and expectant mothers in Congress. In this day and age, we should be celebrating the arrival of a new life and uplifting pregnant women with the resources they need to make sure their child is cared for. I look forward to fighting for the right to life on the floor of the U.S. House,” said Beth Harwell.

New TNJ edition: Ethics overhaul getting Lee signature, 5th District developments, slowdown on the Drive to 55

Registry member Tom Lawless and then-Rep. Robin Smith (R-Hixson) confer before Gov. Bill Lee’s State of the State address on Jan. 31, 2022. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

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

— Lee signing transparency push into law despite allies’ opposition

— From the campaign trail: Starbuck files suit again, Ortagus advising Winstead, Ogles gets backing and staffing from former outfit.

— State’s college enrollment figures going in ‘wrong direction, very fast.’

— Survey says : Vandy poll gauges attitudes toward abortion, politicians, the economy.

Also: Leadership shakeup at TWRA, Jim Strickland considering third term if voters loosen limits, GOP grapples with crossover voting allegations again, and what’s in a (middle) name?

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

Or subscribe here.

New TNJ edition alert: The Cameron Sexton interview

House Speaker Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), left, and Rep. Pat Marsh (R-Shelbyville) await the begin of the State of the State address on Jan 31, 2022. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

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

— TNJ Interview: House Speaker Cameron Sexton reflects on recovering from ‘trauma’ of scandals in House, building trust with Senate, and his expectations about future relations with Gov. Bill Lee.

— No cakewalk for Joe Carr in Rutherford County?

— Federal judge shoots down Starbuck’s effort to be restored to GOP ballot in 5th District.

— AG’s office confirms 5th District ballots could be changed until next month, raising questions about why redistricting fixes couldn’t have been made in time.

Also: Speculation about attorney general successor kicks into overdrive, Brian Kelsey gets another delay for his federal campaign finance case, and Memphis’ Democratic mayor backs “truth in sentencing” law.

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

Or subscribe here.

Judge denies Starbuck’s effort to be put back on 5th District ballot

U.S. District Judge Waverly Crenshaw has denied music video producer Robby Starbuck’s motion to be placed back on the Republican primary ballot for the 5th Congressional District.

“Exactly why Mr. Starbuck’s name was removed from the ballot the Court may never know,” Crenshaw wrote in Thursday’s order. “His Complaint speaks of smoke-filled rooms with carpetbaggers engaged in political chicanery reminiscent of the Daley machine in Chicago during the 60’s and 70’s, and New York’s Tammany Hall in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Whatever the reason, the only question now is whether Mr. Starbuck is entitled to a preliminary injunction under Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. He is not.”

Ogles camp announces $453K haul for 5th District bid in first 30 days

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles says his campaign for the Republican nomination for the open 5th Congressional District seat has netted $453,000 in the first month since joining the race. Ogles didn’t officially enter the contest until the end of the Federal Election Commission’s most recent reporting deadline, so he won’t have to make official disclosures until July 15 — 20 days before the primary.

The Ogles campaign says none of his fundraising total came in the form of loans and that all contributions were from within Tennessee.

Here’s the full release:

COLUMBIA, TN – Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles raised $453,000 in the first thirty days of his bid for the 5th District Congressional seat. Ogles, who was a late entry into the race, officially became a candidate on April 6th. 

Mayor Ogles stated, “I am humbled and overwhelmed by the support I’ve received since entering the race. Not only has the fundraising response been incredible, the results in recent straw polls in both Wilson and Marshall Counties, as well as the candidate auction in Williamson County demonstrate the strength of my grassroots campaign.” 

Mayor Ogles attributes his success with the grassroots to his decades of activism where he has helped lead the charge against Obamacare expansion, government overreach and various tax increases. “Tennesseans want elected officials who will fight for them in the same way President Trump fought for us. During Covid I never wavered, I fought for freedom and liberty in the face of threats, and I will fight for Tennessee against a Federal government that has gone too far and grown too powerful,” said Ogles.

Recently Mayor Ogles made national headlines as he refused to close Maury County during Covid. Ogles actively campaigned against State and Federal mandates by holding the ‘Freedom Matters’ tour where he recruited other elected officials and TN citizens to standup against government overreach with the town hall meetings consistently drawing crowds between 500 and 800 individuals. 

Lee Beaman, a well-known businessman and conservative fundraiser, who serves as Mayor Ogles Campaign Chairman added, “I recently attended an event with several very conservative Members of Congress who were asking about the 5th Congressional Race and I told them Andy Ogles is Tennessee’s Ron DeSantis and, like the Florida Governor, Andy is a true fighter for the people and he is exactly who we need serving us in Congress.” 

Winstead hires advertising consultant Davis, Trump pollster Fabrizio for 5th District bid

Kurt Winstead (Photo credit: Winstead campaign)

Former National Guard Big. Gen. Kurt Winstead announced he has hired political ad maker Fred Davis and Trump pollster Tony Fabrizio for his Republican bid for the open 5th Congressional District seat.

Here’s the release from the Winstead campaign:

Nashville, Tenn. – General Kurt Winstead (Ret.), a conservative Republican candidate for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, announced today major additions to his campaign leadership team.

“We have so much momentum. Our conservative message to the Republican voters in the 5th District is resonating, and I am so excited about our senior campaign team that will help us win this election,” said Winstead.

The new additions include:

— Fred Davis, a veteran media consultant, who has advised on a number of successful state and federal campaigns including Governor Bill Lee, Governor Bill Haslam and Senator Lamar Alexander. Davis will produce the television and radio advertising.

— Tony Fabrizio and David Lee will act as pollsters for the campaign. Fabrizio and Lee are veteran consultants and pollsters. Combined, they have worked for decades on hundreds of Congressional and Senate campaigns across the country. Fabrizio also served as chief pollster for President Donald Trump in the 2016 and 2020 elections.

— The Stoneridge Group, a well-respected conservative political consulting firm based in Atlanta will lead the campaign’s direct mail and digital efforts.

The campaign previously announced its initial team, including:

— Chris Devaney is Winstead’s senior advisor. Devaney 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 serves as the campaign’s finance consultant. 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.

— Jimmy Granbery, a Nashville businessman, is the finance chairman for the campaign.

“This campaign team is one of the best in the country and has the experience to win,” said General Winstead.

Recently, the Winstead campaign announced $1 million cash on hand after a successful fundraising effort following his formal announcement in March.

Starbuck sues over ouster from GOP ballot

Music video producer Robby Starbuck is suing over his removal from the Republican primary ballot in the 5th Congressional District. Starbuck was booted along with former U.S. State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus and businessman Baxter Lee.

“The state party is trying to go beyond the scope of what they’re allowed to do by kicking a bonafide Republican like me off the ballot” Starbuck said in a statement. “It’s the same sort of backroom trickery they tried to use against Trump in 2016 at the Republican convention — which is ironic since the state party is trying to get the next Republican convention to Nashville.”

Here’s the press release from the Starbuck camp:

Republican congressional candidate Robby Starbuck has responded to the Tennessee GOP scheme to effectively remove him from the ballot with a lawsuit, filed Monday afternoon in Federal court. The suit names the Tennessee Republican Party — which includes the State Executive Committee, Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party Scott Golden, Coordinator of Elections Scott Goins, Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett and the office of the Secretary of State. 

The Starbuck campaign’s brief alleges that officials used secret and irregular means to prevent a free and fair election. The Starbuck campaign expects that disenfranchised Tennesseans and Robby Starbuck will be awarded relief in the form of a court-ordered reversal of the State Executive Committee’s decision, likely on constitutional grounds, to return Robby Starbuck to the ballot.

“The state party is trying to go beyond the scope of what they’re allowed to do by kicking a bonafide Republican like me off the ballot” said Starbuck. “It’s the same sort of backroom trickery they tried to use against Trump in 2016 at the Republican convention — which is ironic since the state party is trying to get the next Republican convention to Nashville. Tennessee voters won’t forgive this behind the back theft of their choice on Election Day. Disenfranchising our voters robs them of an America First candidate aligned with President Trump, leaving them with only weak alternatives — Tennesseans demand a reversal!”

Starbuck is also fighting for two of his primary opponents to be reinstated on the ballot, Baxter Lee and Morgan Ortagus. 

“This is not communist Cuba, where my family escaped from,” Starbuck commented. “In America, the party doesn’t get to just SELECT candidates that they like — the people get to ELECT the candidate they want on Election Day!”

President Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr. expressed his support for Starbuck on Twitter earlier this week. .

“This lawsuit is a testing point—and hopefully a turning point—that could end backroom politics” concluded Starbuck. “We’re not going to stop fighting until WE THE PEOPLE are given our constitutional rights back.”

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