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VOL. 46 | NO. 44 | Friday, November 4, 2022

Voters choosing new rep in redrawn Nashville district

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NASHVILLE (AP) — Months after GOP state lawmakers carved up Nashville's congressional district, Tennesseans will determine if far-right conservative Andy Ogles or Democratic state Sen. Heidi Campbell will represent the left-leaning city.

Republicans are hoping to flip a seat on Tuesday in their push to reclaim control of the U.S. House ever since they split Nashville into three congressional districts. The move led to the retirement of longtime Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, creating an open race in the new 5th Congressional District.

The new district favored Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Joe Biden by 12 percentage points in 2020.

The redistricting plan led to confusion during early voting, as first reported by The Associated Press. Some voters in Nashville cast early ballots in the wrong congressional district, leaving election officials scrambling before Tuesday to correct the errors and leading to at least one lawsuit.

Ogles, a former county mayor and onetime leader of the Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity's state chapter, emerged victorious in a crowded and bruising primary race earlier this year. Yet despite issuing a warning on the night he won - "Liberals, we're coming for you" - Ogles has largely kept a low-profile throughout the general election.

When asked what he meant by the comment, as well as other comments warning that the country was at "war," Ogles declined to answer directly.

"I think the district spoke handily that they wanted someone who was willing to speak their mind. I'm not going to tap dance on the issues," Ogles told WKRN-TV in a recent interview.

"We can disagree on policy, but the end of the day, what I'm wanting to do is lead this country to a better place," he added.

Campbell, meanwhile, hopes highlighting Ogles' stances on abortion and gay marriage — as well as his support of dissolving the U.S. Department of Education — will help gain enough support among wary voters in a new district. The Democrat even outraised and outspent Ogles in the last quarter.

No debate or forums took place between the two as Campbell accused Ogles of ignoring at least seven invitations.

Ogles received a late endorsement from former President Donald Trump, who initially endorsed his former State Department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus, in the primary.

Political infighting over the carefully crafted district — it meanders through six counties — led the state Republican Party to boot three candidates off the ballot, including Ortagus, over their voting records.

Ogles later received Trump's endorsement. Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz also visited Tennessee in the lead up to Election Day to campaign for Ogles.

Campbell, meanwhile, has received the endorsement of former Democratic Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen and Rep. Cooper, whose term expires at the end of the year.

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Follow AP's coverage of the elections at: https://apnews.com/hub/2022-midterm-elections

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