Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper, who currently represents the Nashville-anchored 5th District seat as it is currently drawn, cited the new map when he announced he wouldn’t be seeking another term.
The top candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District are state House Speaker Beth Harwell, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and retired Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead.
Ogles, whose campaign is backed by outside super political action committees including the USA Freedom Fund and Americans for Prosperity, has received criticism over where his support comes from — though Winstead and Harwell have outraised the field, according to FEC filings.
Ahead of the primary election, Harwell told a local outlet in a statement, “It’s clear if Andy Ogles wins, he will be controlled by the DC swamp.”
“He owes everything to them, and I don’t think that’s right for the people of middle Tennessee,” she said.
For his part, while Ogles said that while, “of course you can’t coordinate, you can’t communicate,” his campaign made a strategic decision to encourage outside support.
“We firewalled off some of our donors away from the campaign to go run positive ads… so there’s been radio and there’s been mailers, there’s been doors knocked that I have not been able to control because the campaign wasn’t doing it,” Ogles told Nashville area radio host Michael Delgiorno on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN.
He said that strategy allowed him and his campaign to focus more on the “grassroots” effort in Tennessee.
Still, the field is less crowded than it was earlier this year, after the Tennessee Republican Party voted to boot three candidates from its primary ballot for the district — including Trump-endorsed hopeful Morgan Ortagus. That decision came after state GOP officials agreed to review challenges to the three candidates that raised questions about their Republican bonafides, including whether they had voted in three of the last four Republican primaries, as required by the state party’s bylaws.
State Sen. Heidi Campbell is running unopposed for the Democratic nomination. She has raised significantly less than the leading GOP candidates, per FEC reports.
Additionally, while Republican Gov. Bill Lee is unopposed for renomination, there is a Democratic primary for governor and several other House primaries.
While Tennessee is split between time zones, all polls close at 8 p.m. ET. Mail-in ballots must be returned by poll close on August 4.
CNN’s Ethan Cohen, Melissa DePalo, Clara Grudberg, Nicholas Anastacio, Gabby Orr and Alex Rogers contributed to this report.
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