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Tipsheet

Trouble Brewing for Trump-Backed Congressional Candidate in Tennessee

Morgan Ortagus Campaign Video

Tennessee’s 5th congressional district has been redrawn. It forced incumbent Democratic Congressman Jim Cooper to not seek re-election. It’s a crowded GOP primary, and the Trump-backed candidate could be blocked from the nomination. There’s no scandal. There are no embarrassing incidents relating to one’s personal life here. It’s merely the state legislature passing a residency requirement that could prevent former State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus from running as a Republican. This law is already being sent to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk for signature. It goes into effect immediately (via The Center Square):

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A bill that would require a candidate to live in Tennessee for three years in order to run in a Republican or Democrat primary election for Congress is headed to Gov. Bill Lee’s desk.

The bill would go into effect immediately upon Lee's signature, meaning Republican Morgan Ortagus would be blocked from running in the Republican primary for Tennessee’s newly drawn 5th Congressional District.

Ortagus, backed by former President Donald Trump, is the former spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State.

The 5th Congressional District seat is opening up after current U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, said he will not run in the newly drawn district.

[…]

“We would require three-year residency in the state of Tennessee to be on the ballot for the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate,” sponsoring Rep. Dave Wright, R-Corryton, said.

Now, Ortagus can still run, but as an Independent which will probably split the conservative vote, allowing the seat to potentially remain in Democratic hands. Ortagus’ candidacy and Trump’s endorsement has reportedly irked some local Tennessee Republicans who a) don’t like that she has zero state roots, and b) being told what to do. If there is one thing that is constant about the South, it’s they don’t like other people, even Trump apparently, telling them who to support in an election. In Alabama, the DC GOP crew told Alabama GOP voters to vote for Luther Strange in the special senate election. They picked Roy Moore, who had a whole host of issues. 

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Let’s see how this plays out, but even the most ardent Trump supporters appear to not like this move by the former president. I’m a party guy. I’ll back whoever can beat the Democrats, but this law could be an issue for Ms. Ortagus. 

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