TN-5 Republican Hopeful David Vitalli Addresses Candidacy, New York Carpetbagger Status

New York native David Vitalli, one of three carpetbagger candidates in the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District along with Morgan Ortagus and Robby Starbuck, addressed his candidacy and relocation to Tennessee.

“My wife and I fell in love with Tennessee in 2013 and spent a lot of time here. We knew that we would move here as soon as our first visit. I may not be a longtime resident of Tennessee, but I got here as soon as I could. I am invested in Tennessee’s 5th district. My home is here. I operate my business here. I didn’t come here looking for a job or to punch another notch on my move up the D.C. social ladder,” said Vitalli.

Vitalli expressed his appreciation for his newfound home to The Tennessee Star, explaining that he views the running for the seat as a sacrifice.

“I love the freedom and the opportunity that living in Tennessee provides for its citizens and I am running for Congress because I want to fight to protect the Tennessee way of life, a way of life that is unmatched in the country,” he said. “I believe in my new home so strongly that I am making a sacrifice to run for this seat, putting in my own hard-earned money into the race and sacrificing my business if elected. I am the only candidate in the race that stands to take a pay cut.”

Vitalli continued, “I am not just some rich guy moving down to Tennessee. I worked hard to get where I am. I grew up in a two-bedroom 1,300-square-foot house in upstate New York, an area that has more in common with Tennessee than Manhattan. I come from a broken home. I’ve been physically and sexually abused, you name it. Life was an uphill battle growing up. My first car was a used jeep. My second car wouldn’t go in reverse. All my success came from relentless hard work, seven days a week, and I want to bring that into representing Tennessee in Congress.”

Vitalli is the Director of International Operations for Vortek International, a security company his deceased mother, Dolores Hurlburt Long, also owned. He has also been a government contractor for the Department of Homeland Security. He founded AngelWatch. According to his IMDB, Vitalli is a television and film actor, former co-host of The Maury Show between 2006-2013, and was featured on the CMT show My Dysfunctional Family.

David’s IMDB account makes it appear that he served in the Marines, but David makes no such claim currently. When asked about the possibility of misconception, Vitalli blamed a show business agent. He does say, “I was intending to serve in the Marines but I was recruited to another government agency. The nature of that work is classified so I cannot comment further, other than to say that I never have and don’t claim to have served in the U.S. Marines.”

52-year old Vitalli was born David Martin Hurlburt Jr. His legal name, changed in 2002, is David M. Vitalli. Vitalli told The Star that he legally changed his name because of his relationship with his abusive father. Vitalli says that he quit high school and got a GED instead in order to support his mother, “working any job I could to help her out.” He did not attend college.

The Star previously reported Vitalli’s remarks to Metropolitan Luxury Magazine, where Vitalli talked about New York property that he was selling in order to move to Tennessee. In the interview, Vitalli is quoted as describing himself as a “constitutionalist” and “Independent” and that he tells friends that he is a “JFK Democrat.” He said that most of his financing would be coming from outside Tennessee and that he may run for president of the United States in 2024.

When asked about the magazine interview, Vitalli said, “The magazine is a real estate magazine. I was selling a property. It was a marketing opportunity to sell the property.”

He added, “Yes, I moved from New York, but so did President Trump, who I voted for. My approach and his are similar. I’m a fan of getting things done, and when you let people cut you off because of politics, you don’t get anywhere. When I’m in a business situation, I like to disarm people and get past the barriers. If you’re talking to a New York magazine, if you tell them you’re a conservative Republican who believes in the party platform, you won’t get anywhere. In business, it’s often the same way.”

Vitalli said in that interview that he refers to himself as a JFK Democrat.

“I said ‘JFK Democrat’ because that’s a name that people in New York respect, but he wasn’t a crazy liberal like the Democrat party today. JFK actually cut taxes. I could have said a Reagan Republican, which is how I really view myself, but I was focused on selling the property,” he said. “I’m a ‘We the People’ conservative Republican kind of guy.”

Vitalli provided The Star with a copy of his voter history, which shows that he was registered as a Republican in New York State. It also shows that he did not vote in any primary elections.

On the financing issue, Vitalli told The Star that his donations will come from all over, but he’s prepared to self-fund to the tune of seven figures.

When asked where he stands on core GOP issues, Vitalli says that he is pro-life, a strong supporter of the 2nd Amendment, and a strong supporter of the military. He also describes himself as a man of deep faith.

The Star asked Vitalli why he is running for the U.S. House. “Congress is where you make real change in this country. I liked President Trump because he ran the country like a business. Congress is like the board of directors or a corporate vice-president role. I intend to hold the Biden administration accountable.” he said. “Unlike people in D.C. now, and a lot of other candidates in this race, when I identify a problem, I find a solution.”

Vitalli’s, Ortagus’s, Starbuck’s, and Baxter Lee’s Republican bona fides have been challenged to the Tennessee Republican Party. They cannot take action on those challenges until the April 7 qualifying petitions deadline passes. It is unclear at this time what the TNGOP will decide.

Other candidates in the GOP primary for TN-5 not previously mentioned include former Speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives Beth Harwell, former Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead, Natisha Brooks, and Stewart Parks.

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles, Senate aide Tres Wittum, and former Williamson County GOP Chair Omar Hamada are still considering entry into the race. Hamada has said he will defer to Ogles if he enters the race.

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

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5 Thoughts to “TN-5 Republican Hopeful David Vitalli Addresses Candidacy, New York Carpetbagger Status”

  1. Lisa

    He admits in the interview that he has said what he had to to get the sell, to get the part, etc. That is the definition of a liar to me and we already have enough of those in politics. If he lied in NY he is lying in TN!

  2. Barbara

    Don’t even think about voting for someone who contracted for Homeland Security which was created to begin the process of taking our freedoms and reveals they’re willing to sell us out.

    This is precisely why people have come here from NYC and California, to run for office, bribe legislators and turn our state into the places they come from. Do not trust him and his hard luck bs stories.

    Clearly they think it is a cake walk to convince a bunch of hillbillies to put them into office. Perhaps we don’t reconstruct so easily and that is a lesson they need to learn. Go back and fix the states you came from if you’re all that.

  3. David H

    What’s the definition of a “carpetbagger”? How many years does someone need to live in TN to not be a “carpetbagger”? Should we all vote for the person who has lived in TN the longest?

    The TN GOP needs to encourage ALL conservatives to run in the Primary – that is the point of a Primary. If these people run as independents they will split the vote and the Dem might win. Dems have won the 5th District every election for over 100 years – since 1875. If forcing these people to run as Independents causes a Dem to win, that will be terrible. They all sound like conservatives and that is what is important.

    1. Barbara

      No it’s not. They can call themselves whatever they please but it takes a lot of nerve to come here and behave like we don’t already have qualified people to run. It’s amazing that people like him think we would vote for him over people who already live here. He betrayed Americans by contracting with Homeland Security so he’s already telling you what he is and when people tell you what they are you should believe them.