Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles clinched the Republican nomination for U.S. House District 5, easily passing former Speaker of the House Marsha Blackburn and a host of other candidates. (Photo: John Partipilo)
After a bruising campaign in which outside groups poured millions into attack ads, Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles appears to be emerging as the winner of the 5th Congressional District Republican primary.
Holding a strong lead with most votes counted, Ogles, former state director for Americans for Prosperity, will face Democratic state Sen. Heidi Campbell in the November general election for the newly-drawn district.
Ogles, a first-term mayor in Maury County, took a commanding lead as the early returns came in from rural counties such as his home county of Maury, Lewis, and Marshall, then held on with big wins in Williamson and Wilson counties as former House Speaker Beth Harwell captured the majority of votes in her home Davidson County.
By 10:50 p.m. Thursday, Ogles had 19,879 votes, 38%, to 12,913 for Harwell, 25%, 11,252 for retired Brig. Gen. and Williamson County attorney Kurt Winstead, 21.7%, 3,645 for Jeff Beierlein, 7%, and 1,605 for Natisha Brooks, 3.1%, according to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s website.
In Nashville, which hadn’t reported all of its votes to the state at that point, Harwell carried 5,255 votes with all precincts reporting, to 3,274 for Winstead and 2,819 for Ogles.
Despite winning Davidson County with ease, Harwell wouldn’t be able to overcome losses in the other counties.
The Republican-controlled Legislature redrew the 5th Congressional District this year, splitting Davidson County into three districts and adding portions of Wilson, Williamson, Maury, Marshall and Lewis counties to make it difficult for a Democrat to win. The strategy worked immediately as Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper opted not to seek re-election.
Harwell and Winstead appeared to be headed for a showdown until Ogles entered the race late and drew heavy support from conservative rural voters.
Campbell, a first-term state senator, stepped in to seek the Democratic nomination and picked up 19,666 votes as the only candidate.
In other races:
Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson held a lead on challenger Gary Humble by 12,470, 51.6%, to 11,683, 48.37% in Tennessee Senate District 27 in Williamson County. The Republican victor is unopposed in the November general election.
With all Davidson County precincts reporting, activist Charlane Oliver, 5,460 votes, topped former Metro Councilmember Jerry Maynard, 4,870 votes, and former Metro Councilmember Ludye Wallace, 1,440 votes for the vacant Senate District 19 seat.
For the open House District 52 seat in Nashville, Democratic activist Justin Jones, 1,931 votes, defeated Metro Councilmember Delishia Porterfield, 1,690 votes. No Republican candidate qualified for the race.
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