New TN-5 Hopeful Ortagus Brings Star Power, National Media to Race for GOP Nomination in District That Now Leans Republican


A newly announced TN-5 candidate is receiving a lot of national attention.

Former Trump administration State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus’ first week as a candidate in the Republican primary for Tennessee’s 5th Congressional seat included several national interviews.

Ortagus officially announced her candidacy the Monday morning’s Fox and Friends. Later that evening, Ortagus went on the Newsmax show, Spicer & Co., to discuss her campaign.

Ortagus appeared on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Wednesday and also recorded an interview for regular columnist, Gabriella Hoffman’s podcast that is set to air tomorrow.

Foreign policy and the situation in Ukraine, along with Ortagus’ discussion of her campaign, were topics that were covered.

After her announcement on Fox and Friends, Ortagus did appear on Nashville’s Morning News with Dan Mandis on local Nashville station 99.7 WTN, where she dodged questions about her previous disparaging remarks about President Trump.

Ortagus’ former position at the State Department was high-profile and gave her many national media contacts. In addition to running for U.S. representative from Tennessee, Ortagus currently serves as a national security contributor at Fox News.

Ortagus’ ties to Tennessee and the 5th District are minimal, however. The Tennessee Star previously reported that she does not live in TN-5, residing just outside the new lines, and she registered to vote in Tennessee on November 29, 2021. Ortagus has never voted in a Tennessee election.

The bulk of materials on the Ortagus campaign website reference President Trump’s endorsement, as well as national campaign issues.

Ortagus served as Trump administration State Department spokesman from 2019-2021 under then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Secretary Pompeo has yet to make an endorsement in TN-5’s Republican primary, but it would be considered a major surprise if he didn’t back Ortagus, like his former boss President Trump has.

Secretary Pompeo currently serves as Senior Counsel for Global Affairs at Christian nonprofit the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). Former member of President Trump’s impeachment legal team, Jay Sekulow, serves as chief counsel for the ACLJ.

One former Trump administration official is backing another candidate. Former acting director of national intelligence and former U.S. ambassador to Germany Ric Grenell has endorsed music video director Robby Starbuck. Like Pompeo, Grenell also serves in a high-profile position at the ACLJ, as a senior advisor for National Security and Foreign Policy. Grenell’s endorsement did come well before redistricting, when Starbuck was seeking the nomination under the old 5th district lines.

Other candidates who have publicly announced their candidacies in the GOP primary are music video director Robby Starbuck, former Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead, businessman Baxter Lee, and Natisha Brooks. Former Williamson County GOP chair Omar Hamada, Geni Bachelor and Annabelle Lee are reported to be collecting petitions.

Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and former Tennessee Speaker of the House Beth Harwell are considering entry into the race.

The 5th Congressional District includes parts of Davidson, parts of Wilson, parts of Williamson, all of Marshall, Maury, 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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10 Thoughts to “New TN-5 Hopeful Ortagus Brings Star Power, National Media to Race for GOP Nomination in District That Now Leans Republican”

  1. Unbalanced Libra

    Crenshaw supports her. That alone should be all that is needed to figure this out.

  2. Cannoneer2

    New TN-5 Hopeful Ortagus Brings Star Power, National Media to Race for GOP Nomination in District That Now Is Gerrymandered Republican.

    Fixed your headline for you.

  3. Aries9899

    I honestly believe that voters in D5 will not be fooled by this faux conservative. This isn’t the state of NY where Hillary could carpetbag in and win an election. I’m wondering what happens to this faker when she has to meet with actual Tennesseans other than Bushie types. The East TN GOP mafia won’t get her elected here. Robby Starbucks is almost in the same camp but if I was in D5 I’d vote for him before her. I’d love to see Andy Ogles run, he has a long standing record of working for TN conservative policies back to the tea party days and probably longer.

  4. 83ragtop50

    “Star power”? Really? She comes across as an arrogant liberal. I wonder what she really looks like under that ton of makeup. Trump needs to just give her a job within his companies and stop trying to shove “celebrities” down our throats. He proved that he could not pick solid people within his own administration thus his revolving door personnel policies.

    I support Trump’s policy decisions (except for running up the debt) but not his candidate endorsements.

  5. lb

    Written by a true fanboy it seems.
    Tennesseans dont like carpetbaggers-period. At least Starbuck has worked tirelessly the past year+ to introduce himself and ask for Votes at small gatherings and to actually listen.
    For this chick to parachute in and think she can walk in and claim this Seat is the height of arrogance and it wont fly inD5.

  6. rick

    How unimpressive that she has gained national media attention, to me that is a huge negative for her to even be mentioned by the national media trash. If the national media is for her I am against her. For Ortagus to even be considered as a Congressional Rep should be an insult to all Tennesseans. A true carpetbagger!! A no Vote here! Andy Ogles or Beth Harwell!!
    “Lets Go Brandon”

  7. JRin

    Carpetbagger, pure and simple.

  8. Stuart I. Anderson

    An open seat that has been carved out to be Republican and a terrible “first past the post” electoral system where less than 25% or even 20% of the vote can conceivably be enough to win and you have the expected platoon of candidates collecting 25 signatures to give it a shot. Pray conservatives will not be distracted by the campaigns conjured up by the high priced campaign consultants that are temporarily moving into town. There are only two potential candidates with conservative credentials conservatives should demand before voting for anyone to be their next congressman. Hopefully we will not have long to wait before Andy Ogles or Beth Harwell declare their candidacies.

  9. John

    Oh this honey is going to keep waving that Trump flat until her first day in office. I certainly hope the district 5 voters aren’t bamboozled by all of her big media appearances.