attack ads

New Harwell ad calls Ogles tax raiser, lobbyist

Former state House Speaker Beth Harwell is running the first negative ad of her 5th Congressional District campaign against Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, calling him a lobbyist and a tax raiser.

Harwell has been the subject of a barrage of attack ads by super PACs linked to the Club for Growth and U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio). Here’s the transcript of the new Harwell spot:

NARRATOR: The D.C. special interest group that attacked Donald Trump is now lying about Beth Harwell. They support Andy Ogles because he’s a D.C. insider. He’s also a tax raiser. Lobbyist Andy Ogles pushed for a sales tax increase that would have hit working families hard. Conservative Beth Harwell is Tennessee tough. Build Trump’s wall, cut our taxes, pass term limits. Beth Harwell will put America first.

HARWELL: I’m Beth Harwell and I approve this message.

The ad cites a 2016 news report about the Club for Growth criticizing Trump, though the group and the former president have been on the same page numerous times since then. Ogles did back a referendum on a local-option sales tax hike in Maury County. It’s unclear why the script uses conditional language that the tax “would have hit working families,” as it was approved by voters there on a 52%-48% vote in 2020.

The attack ads cometh in 5th District race

It was only a matter of time until the attack ads started to emerge in the race for the Republican nomination in the open 5th Congressional District race. A group called Tennessee Conservatives is taking aim at Maury County Mayor, while the USA Freedom Fund is hitting former House Speaker Beth Harwell for having once voted for a program to allow illegal immigrants to get driver’s licenses. Another spot by the School Freedom Fund, which is linked to the Club for Growth, calls Harwell and retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead “too liberal for Tennessee.”

Here’s the Ogles hit piece:

And the attack on Harwell.

Harwell appears to have updated one of her spots to try to defuse the attack, by declaring she “stopped illegals from getting driver’s licenses.” It’s true that she voted in 2004 to repeal a program allowing driver certificates to people who were in the country illegally, but that doesn’t tell the whole story, as she was among 19 Republicans who voted in favor of creating it three years earlier.