Tennessee's state GOP voted to remove Trump-endorsed Morgan Ortagus (pictured) from the 5th congressional district primary ballot
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Republican party votes to REMOVE Trump’s ex-State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus from the Tennessee primary ballot because she only just moved to the state

  • Tennessee’s state GOP voted to remove Trump-endorsed Morgan Ortagus from the 5th congressional district primary ballot
  • Ortagus served as State Department spokesperson under Donald Trump and is also a Navy Reserves officer
  • Two other primary candidates, Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee, were also removed from the ballot
  • Trump’s influence in the GOP is being put to the test as those within the party are breaking from the former president

Tennessee's state GOP voted to remove Trump-endorsed Morgan Ortagus (pictured) from the 5th congressional district primary ballot

Tennessee’s state GOP voted to remove Trump-endorsed Morgan Ortagus (pictured) from the 5th congressional district primary ballot

A Trump-backed congressional candidate in Tennessee’s primary race was booted from the ballot after the local GOP voted to remove her because she had only just moved to the state. 

Morgan Ortagus served as the State Department Spokesperson under former President Donald Trump and is currently a Navy Reserves officer. She was running to represent the district that encompasses Nashville, but is now unlikely to be able to continue her effort.

Trump had endorsed Ortagus in her bid to represent Tennessee’s 5th congressional district.

‘President Donald Trump believes I’m the best person to fight for his America First agenda and Middle Tennessee in Congress, and I’m working hard to ensure that my fellow Tennesseans, including TNGOP SEC members, understand why,’ Ortagus said in a statement on the decision to remove her.

‘As I have said all along, I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative — not establishment party insiders,’ she continued. ‘Our team is evaluating the options before us.’

The vote came after the GOP-controlled state legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that requires congressional candidates to live in Tennessee for three years to qualify to run on primary ballots.

Republican Governor Bill Lee allowed the bill to become law after failing to sign it in the 10-day period.

Had the law taken effect before the April 7 filing deadline, it would have disqualified Ortagus from even filing on the primary ballot, but a spokesperson for Tennessee’s secretary of state’s office said it would not apply retroactively, according to the Associated Press.

Tennessee’s GOP executive committee can already disqualify candidates from the primary ballot for failing to adhere to the party’s bylaws. In this case, requiring a candidate to have voted in three of the last four GOP primaries and to actively participate in the state or local Republican parties.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Ortagus in a January statement before she officially announced her candidacy

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Ortagus in a January statement before she officially announced her candidacy

Ortagus (left) is a Navy Reserves officer and served as Trump-era spokesperson from 2019-2021 for the State Department ¿ led by then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right)

Ortagus (left) is a Navy Reserves officer and served as Trump-era spokesperson from 2019-2021 for the State Department – led by then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (right)

The state’s GOP Chairman Scott Golden said in March that party leaders in specific districts could bypass the voting records rules and stop candidates from being disqualified by going to bat for them before the committee.

Ortagus’ campaign is arguing that she does meet all of the state party’s bylaws, including voting in enough recent GOP primaries, participating in Republican women’s groups and contributing to the state party.

In a statement ahead of the committee’s vote to remove her, Ortagus said she spent several weeks speaking with members of the State Executive Committee ‘about my core conservative beliefs, my background serving in the Trump Administration and the U.S. Navy Reserves, and my conservative vision for our state and our country.’

Two other candidates, Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee, were also taken off the ballot.

GOP legislators and activists were working for months to get Ortagus off the August primary ballot since she has only recently moved to the Volunteer State.

‘I am deeply disappointed in the SEC’s decision,’ Ortagus said in a statement in reference to the GOP’s State Executive Committee.

‘I’m a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric,’ she continued. ‘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.’ 

Two other primary candidates, Robby Starbuck (left) and Baxter Lee (right), were also removed from the ballot

Trump’s influence in the GOP is being put to the test as those within the party are breaking from the former president, claiming Republicans are fed up with his talk of 2020 election fraud.

The removal of the Trump-backed former White House official is further proof that the party is distancing itself from him.

In late January 2022, the ex-president sent out his endorsement email for Ortagus from his Save America PAC account.

‘I am told the very strong and impressive Morgan Ortagus is exploring a run for Congress in Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District,’ Trump wrote at the time. ‘I couldn’t be happier because she’s an absolute warrior for America First and MAGA!’

‘She won’t bow to the Woke Mob or the Leftist LameStream Media,’ he added.

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