Trump-backed former State Dept. spox announces bid for Congress in Tennessee

Former State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus is jumping into the race for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District after winning a preemptive endorsement from former President Trump.

That endorsement was front and center in a video released Monday announcing Ortagus’s campaign that highlighted her ties to Trump. 

“Morgan worked with President Trump to not just make America great again at home, but America strong again in the world,” a narrator says in the video. “That’s why she has the complete and total endorsement of President Trump.”

Ortagus’s announcement puts her in direct contention for the Republican nomination with conservative filmmaker Robby Starbuck, who has already racked up several endorsements from high-profile right-wing figures, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.). 

Several other potential candidates are eyeing the seat, including former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell (R). Starbuck also indicated that he will stay in the race despite missing out on Trump’s endorsement. 

Tennessee’s Nashville-based 5th District has been a longtime Democratic stronghold, but the redistricting process recently transformed it district into a solid Republican territory, prompting the retirement of longtime Rep. Jim Cooper (D). 

Despite the heavy Republican advantage, Trump’s endorsement of Ortagus has spurred some tensions among conservatives, many of whom had already thrown their support behind Starbuck. 

Still, Ortagus leaned heavily into Trump’s endorsement in announcing her campaign on Monday, casting herself as a stalwart of his “America First” movement. 

“As a U.S. Navy Reserve Officer, I am answering the call to service, and I will never back down from fighting for my country and the good people of Tennessee to stand for American greatness,” she said. “I’m grateful to have President Trump’s support, and I look forward to earning your vote and standing with you to protect our conservative values.”

Tags 2022 midterm elections Donald Trump Jim Cooper Marjorie Taylor Greene Morgan Ortagus

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