Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles will win the Republican nomination in CNN’s drafts for Tennessee’s 5th congressional district.
The newly drawn district attracted a crowded field of candidates vying to represent part of the Nashville area. Ogles, an entrepreneur, will beat State House Speaker Beth Harwell and retired Brig. General Kurt Winstead.
The new Tennessee congressional map divided Davidson County, home to Nashville, into three separate districts, likely moving the state’s delegation from seven Republicans and two Democrats to eight Republicans and one Democrat.
Democratic Representative Jim Cooper, who currently represents the Nashville-anchored 5th District seat as it is currently drawn, cited the new map when he announced he would not seek another term.
Ogles, whose campaign is backed by outside super-political action committees including the USA Freedom Fund and Americans for Prosperity, has come under fire over where his support came from — though Winstead and Harwell have overstepped the field, according to the documents filed by the FEC.
Ahead of the primary election, Harwell told local media in a statement, “It’s clear that if Andy Ogles wins, he will be controlled by the DC swamp.”
“He owes them everything, and I don’t think that’s fair to the people of central Tennessee,” she said.
For his part, while Ogles said “of course you can’t coordinate, you can’t communicate,” his campaign made a strategic move to encourage outside support.
“We’ve isolated some of our campaign donors through a firewall to run positive ads…so there’s been radio and there’s been mailers, there’s been door knocking which I haven’t could control because the campaign didn’t,” Ogles told Nashville-area radio host Michael Delgiorno on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN.
He said the strategy allowed him and his campaign to focus more on the “grassroots” effort in Tennessee.
Still, the field was less crowded than it was earlier this year, after the Tennessee Republican Party voted to drop three candidates from its primary ballot for the district — including Trump-endorsed hopeful Morgan Ortagus. The move came after state GOP officials agreed to consider challenges from three candidates who raised questions about their Republican bona fides, including whether they had voted in three of the last four Republican primaries, as required by the statutes of the State Party.
State Senator Heidi Campbell ran unopposed for the Democratic nomination. She has raised significantly less than the leading GOP candidates, according to FEC reports.
This story has been updated with CNN’s showing in the race.