Live from Music Row Thursday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed GOP candidate for Tennessee’s Fifth Congressional District Robby Starbuck to the newsmaker line to announce his endorsement by former DNI Director Ric Grenell, redistricting, and top priorities.
Leahy: We are joined on our newsmaker line by Robby Starbuck, who is a candidate for Congress in the Fifth Congressional District running for the Republican nomination. Good morning, Robby.
Starbuck: Good morning. Thank you for having me on.
Leahy: Robby, you have been endorsed by Senator Rand Paul, Charlie Kirk, Congresswoman Lauren Bobert, President Trump’s lawyer Jenna Ellis, New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Candace Owens endorsed you too, didn’t she?
Starbuck: Yes, he did. And Madison Cawthorn as well.
Leahy: Madison Cawthorn is the firebrand Republican from Western North Carolina who’s a member of the House of Representatives now. He won in 2020. Do you have a little bit more news to tell us about today in endorsement land?
Starbuck: I do have a little bit of news. President Trump’s former director of National Intelligence and our ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell has endorsed me. We filmed an ad that will be coming out shortly on Saturday. Very proud to have his endorsement.
He’s been a really good friend of mine for a long time, and he’s very close to the president. I’m very honored to have his endorsement, his judgment, his sense of understanding of what’s going on in the world and what we need, the type of leadership we need to be able to not just react but to bring strength back. To have America be on top again. It’s just so incredible. I’m really proud to have his support.
Leahy: How long ago did you meet former Ambassador Ric Grenell?
Starbuck: We met during the Trump administration, so probably in 2016 or later in 2016. And we’ve stayed in touch throughout the administration, and we’re able to have some really great conversations throughout everything that happened during the Trump administration.
We’ve got a really good understanding of just tactically, not just how to react to things, but how to be proactive and how to plan out and that not just your rhetoric is matching up with a policy you need to get out there. But how you can plan to really take down your enemies.
Leahy: This commercial advertisement of endorsement from Ric Grenell. When will we be able to see this video? I would say within the week. Within the week. They’re working on it right now, and it’ll be out.
We’re very excited about it. You guys get it first. Your producer reached out and I said, I love you guys. I’ll do it on the show first.
Leahy: Well, great. That sounds great. Tell us now about your campaign for the Fifth Congressional District, whose boundaries have not yet been set. Do you know what the boundaries will be for that district right now? It’s mostly Davidson County.
The incumbent member of Congress there is a Democrat, not one of our favorite guys, Jim Cooper, who’s been there for many, many years. Far-left guy and the brother of Mayor John Cooper here in Nashville. What’s the latest on what the district boundary lines will be?
Starbuck: Well, I wish I could give you the exact lines. But I do have a little piece of good news for you and that’s the Cooper has been out on a whining tour for about two months now.
Leahy: Did you say a whining tour?
Starbuck: Yes, a whining tour. (Leahy laughs)
Leahy: Why do you call it a whining tour and what stops as he made along the whining tour?
Starbuck: He’s made stops to every media outlet that he can. And he was just at a three district meeting recently. And the reality is he knows the numbers. He knows the math.
He knows that it’s going to be extremely hard for there to be a district that is going to be favorable to him. And on last Friday, Cook Political, which is the gold standard for a lot of the news on redistricting and things along those lines.
They said that their sources in the legislature have told them that it’s going to become a Republican district. Obviously, until it’s signed by the governor at the end of the day, you don’t know.
But for us, that’s sort of the weird part of campaigning. We’re campaigning all throughout Middle Tennessee because really, it goes so many different ways in terms of accounting.
And I think outside of that very tiny blue dot in Nashville, that’s really Cooper’s stomping ground, everywhere else in Middle Tennessee has very similar values.
And so it’s really easy in that regard to campaign all over the place because what people want and what they’re worried about is very similar all throughout the other counties.
Leahy: Robby, today is September 16th, 2021. The Republican primary will be held in August of 2022. So we’re September 16, 2021, right now.
The primary will be held really less than eleven months from today. When will there be a final determination of what the boundaries of the Fifth Congressional District will be?
Starbuck: The very final is in January and the governor will sign it. But in terms of when the legislature decides on their own end what they want, it’s a little open-ended. Our rules in Tennessee are very simple when it comes to re-districting.
So it’s really a matter of what the legislature wants to do because it’s essentially the legislature shall draw the lines. And so there are no specific requirements in terms of do they have to do public comments?
Do they have to do this or that? And in a lot of other states, there are more specific rules. Here it’s very simple. We’re sort of just waiting on the legislature to make a determination.
But they had to wait because the Biden administration slow-walked census data on purpose in hopes of being able to push off a lot of the redistricting stuff until really late in the game. I don’t think that’s going to be a successful strategy on the Biden administration’s part, though.
Leahy: There are a lot of things on the Biden administration part that aren’t going to be very successful. I note that when you made your announcement back on June 30, you put out a tweet that said, here’s what I plan to do in Congress.
There are three things. I’ll see if those remain the things. Number one ban China from buying U.S. farmland. Number two, introduce a build to ban corporations and universities from using Critical Race Theory if they take government funds.
And number three vote for world-class board security to stop the flow of illegal immigration. Are those still your three top priorities?
Starbuck: These are three top priorities. I would say if I had to put anything that is a little more general at the very, very, very top, it’s the protection and expansion of freedom in America.
I think we have had an assault on all of our rights. Coming from a family where my family already experienced what happens when the far left starts to strip your freedoms away. That’s critically important to me, just on a general basis.
When I see rights assaulted, I’m going to go after them because at the end of the day, if you’re in politics, you have to decide at some point what takes precedence, either individual liberty or the rights of businesses.
And as much as I want to unleash the power of business in America, especially small business, individual liberty takes precedence over everything. And so we’ve got to fight for that individual liberty.
When businesses are trying to fire people over their vaccination status and things like that, I’m going to stand up against it because I think it’s wrong. I think that people need to be free to make their own decisions.
And whether you like them or not, that’s America. That’s what has made our country so special. And we’ve got to stand up to that.
Leahy: When you go out on the campaign trail, what reaction do you get from people? And where have you been campaigning lately?
Starbuck: It’s been incredible, honestly. I mean, people are just excited to have something very different. Something very direct and on offense. We’re not on defense. I don’t believe in playing defense all the time.
I believe in being on offense, and I think that’s the thing people appreciate the most. And our strategies are very different in terms of campaigning. We’re a very fresh, new sort of operation.
We do so much more in terms of video and being in community and things along those lines. But in terms of campaigning, I actually just got back. I was with Madison Cawthorn. We’ve been going to school boards.
So obviously, I’ve been very active at the Williamson County School Boards and school boards here all around. But we went out to North Carolina, and we had really just parents being us all over the country saying, hey, we want your help.
You guys are doing a great job where you’re doing it. We need help. We need a voice. So we’ve been helping in those places as well. That’s sort of the interesting thing.
This job has gotten larger than expectations would sort of be from the beginning because people all over the country are pushing for freedom.
Leahy: Pushing for freedom. And Robby Starbuck thanks for coming on and breaking the news that you’ve been endorsed by Ric Grenell former acting director of National Intelligence. Thanks for joining us. Come back again soon. If you would, please.
Starbuck: Will do thank you. Anyone who wants to support me like Ric, go to starbuck2022.com.
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