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Tennessee Republicans remove Trump-backed candidate, others from ballot

The Tennessee Republican Party has removed three candidates, including one endorsed by former President Trump, from the primary ballot for one of the state’s House races.

The Tennessee Republican Party voted on Tuesday to dismiss Trump-backed Morgan Ortagus, who previously served as a spokesperson at the State Department, as well as Baxter Lee and Robby Starbuck, from the primary ballot for the state’s 5th Congressional District, state GOP Chairman Scott Golden confirmed to The Hill.

The state Republican Party’s bylaws require, among other conditions, that candidates have voted in three of the last four GOP statewide primaries in the county of residence, and are actively involved in Tennessee or county Republican parties.

Ortagus, who received a preemptive endorsement from Trump, said she was “deeply disappointed” by the party’s decision. Her campaign is evaluating its options.

“I’m a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric. I’m further disappointed that the party insiders at the Tennessee Republican Party do not seem to share my commitment to President Trump’s America First policies,” Ortagus said in a statement.

“As I have said all along, I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative – not establishment party insiders. Our team is evaluating the options before us,” she added.

The Ortagus campaign said the candidate met all qualifications in the state GOP’s bylaws, specifically noting that she was a 3/4 primary voter, had active states in the party and was an active member of the Nashville Republican Women and the Republican Women of Williamson County.

Olafimihan Oshin and Caroline Vakil contributed.

Tags 2022 midterms Donald Trump House elections Morgan Ortagus Tennessee Trump endorsement

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