Fourteen Candidates Collecting Petitions in Race for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District

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The Tennessee Secretary of State’s office has posted their updated list of individuals who have begun collecting petitions to run for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District seat.

Fourteen candidates are collecting petitions for the 5th Congressional seat: Eight Republicans, three Democrats, and three Independents are listed by the Secretary of State’s office as having begun collecting petitions.

Music video director Robby Starbuck of Franklin (listed as Robert Starbuck Newsom), Geni Batchelor of Lebanon, Natisha Brooks of Nashville, former Williamson County GOP Chair Omar Hamada of Franklin, Timothy Bruce Lee of Nashville, Annabelle Lee of Madison, Alan Clement Sharp of Nashville, and David Vitalli of Brentwood are collecting petitions for the Republican primary.

Hamada had previously told The Tennessee Star that he has not yet officially decided whether or not to run. He did tell The Star today that he “is putting a poll in the field this week to test recognition and favorability.” He then plans to make his decision after those results are in and he makes other considerations.

Records filed with the FEC show that Starbuck has raised $255,066.53 and currently has $138,741.16 cash on hand. Natisha Brooks has raised $24,517.00 and has $19,655.34 of it on hand. Starbuck has been running since 2020, and Brooks has been running since the summer of 2021.

Trump-endorsed former State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus has filed her candidate and committee paperwork with the FEC, but is not yet listed as collecting petitions. She also is not yet required to file an FEC fundraising and expense report for the previous quarter because she entered the race after that filing period. Due to national connections and endorsements, Ortagus is expected to raise significant money for this campaign.

Businessman Baxter Lee, retired Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead, Geni Batchelor, and David Vitalli have filed their initial FEC forms as well, but are also, like Ortagus, not required to file a fundraising report until after March 31, 2022. They are not yet listed as collecting petitions either.

The April quarterly FEC reports cover expenses and funds raised between January 1, 2022 and March 31, 2022. The filing deadline for reporting is April 15, 2022.

Other candidates who are considering entry into the TN-5 GOP primary are Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell. Harwell has said that she will make her decision in the near future.

Clay Faircloth, Richard H. Harris, and Joel Michael Hurbert, all from Nashville, are listed as collecting petitions for the August 4, 2022 Democrat primary.

FEC records show that the only candidate in the Democrat primary that has filed FEC paperwork is Justice Democrat-backed Odessa Kelly. Kelly announced in 2021 that she was seeking to challenge incumbent Democrat Representative Jim Cooper, who has subsequently dropped out of the race due to redistricting. Kelly has raised $517,358.37 and has $354,059.33 of it on hand as of the December 31, 2021 report. Kelly has yet to be listed as collecting petitions.

Derrick Brantley of Nashville, Patrick O. Halfacre of Hohenwald, and Richard A. Shannon of Franklin are the Independents who are collecting petitions. Shannon has appeared on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy. None of them appear to have filed documents with the FEC.

The list of individuals collecting petitions is current as of Friday, February 18, 2022. Monday, February 7, 2022 was the first day to begin collecting petitions. Candidates are required to collect 25 valid signatures from registered voters in the district they are seeking to represent to qualify for the ballot. Noon on April 7, 2022 is the deadline to turn in those qualifying petitions.

Nate Silver’s fivethirtyeight gives Tennessee’s new 5th Congressional district a partisan rating of R+15. They previously gave TN-5 a partisan rating of D+17.

The 5th Congressional District, which previously contained all of Davidson, and parts of Cheatham and Dickson Counties, now consists of parts of Davidson, Williamson, and Wilson counties; and all of Maury, Marshall, and Lewis counties.

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Aaron Gulbransen is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]

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