(The Center Square) — As Tennessee’s primary election approaches on Thursday, one of the state’s most interesting contested races is likely the 5th congressional primary for the newly drawn seat.
Nine Republican candidates are on the ballot to face Democrat Heidi Campbell on Nov. 8 in the General Election.
The only other contested Republican U.S. House seats are District 8 with incumbent David Kustoff and three challengers — Danny Bridger, Gary Clouse and Bob Hendry — and District 3 with Sandy Casey challenging incumbent Chuck Fleischmann.
The District 5 seat was previously held by Jim Cooper, who announced he would not run after new district maps were approved.
Among the candidates are former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and Kurt Winstead, who retired as a Brigadier General after serving in the Tennessee Army National Guard for three decades.
Other candidates include Geni Batchelor, Jeff Beierlein, Natisha Brooks, Timothy Bruce Lee, Stewart Parks and Tres Wittum. Three more candidates — Trump-backed Morgan Ortagus, Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee — were voted off the ballot by Tennessee’s Republican Party, leading to several lawsuits regarding the process. Starbuck is now campaigning as a write-in candidate.
Winstead advertises himself as a political outsider who is pro-life, a hunter and gun owner who supported former President Donald Trump and is a member of the National Rifle Association.
Ogles says that he is committed to transparency and believes “we can never allow what happened to Trump to happen to anyone else ever again.”
Ogles is also pro-life and believes the federal Department of Education should relinquish its decision-making powers to states. He believes in a “standardized model to a bottom-up system that enables every family and student to customize education that best matches their values and priorities” and vows to protect Second Amendment gun ownership rights.
Harwell touts her work on the state level in her candidacy, including pushing school choice and daycare working training improvements as she became the first woman to serve as House Speaker before being appointed by Trump to serve on the Tennessee Valley Authority board.
Incumbent Gov. Bill Lee is unopposed for re-election on Thursday while Jason Martin, JB Smiley and Carnita Atwater are competing for the Democratic ticket.
The open state Senate seats in District 19 (Davidson County) has five Democrats are vying to fill Brenda Gilmore’s seat while Mark Hall and J. Adam Lowe vie for the District 1 Republican nomination to fill Steve Southerland’s seat. Sen. London Lamar (Shelby County), who was appointed to replace Katrina Robinson, is being challenged by Rhonnie Brewer and Marion Alexandria-Williams in District 33.