Bill To Allow Only Bonafide Candidates To Run Passed By Senate And Heads To House (Update)


AMENDMENT #1 rewrites this bill to require that a person meet the residency requirements for state senators and representatives contained in the Tennessee constitution in order to qualify as a candidate in a primary election for congress.
So it has changed from being “they must have voted in the last three primaries” to the same requirements as state congress. This is so they won’t get challenged on it being unconstitutional.

US Constitution, Article I, Section. 2. states that qualifications for Congress shall be requisite with qualifications of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature. The Constitution implies that qualifications for Congress can be no more onerous than those imposed upon the State Legislature.
Residency requirements for state senators and reps. are as follows:

For reference, Tennessee Constitution: Article II, Legislative Department

Section 9. No person shall be a representative unless he shall be a citizen of the
United States, of the age of twenty-one years, and shall have been a citizen of this state
for three years, and a resident in the county he represents one year, immediately
preceding the election.

Section 10. No person shall be a senator unless he shall be a citizen of the United
States, of the age of thirty years, and shall have resided three years in this state, and
one year in the county or district, immediately preceding the election.

Original Article:

Image Credit: Pixabay & Flickr / CC

The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –

The Tennessee Senate overwhelmingly voted on a bill to only allow “bonafide Republicans” to run for U.S. Congressional seats.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of the bill, 31 to 1. Senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga-D10) was the lone dissenting voice. The bill now goes to the House Elections & Campaign Finance Subcommittee on March 2nd, 2022.

You can find their subcommittee’s contact information HERE.

House Bill 2764 (HB2764), sponsored by Representative Dave Wright (R-Corryton-D19) and Senate Bill 2616 (SB2616), sponsored by Senator Frank Niceley (R-Strawberry Plains-D8), as introduced, would prohibit a person from being nominated as a candidate for United States senator or member of the United States house of representatives unless the person has voted in the three previous elections in this state (Tennessee). – Amends TCA Title 2.


Robby Starbuck and Morgan Ortagus are two out of seven candidates presently listed as running in the Republican primary. Sources have confirmed to The Tennessee Conservative that there are at least two additional Republicans planning to run. 

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Before redistricting lines were redrawn, three candidates had already pulled papers to run against Jim Cooper. Those candidates were Robby Starbuck, Natisha Brooks and Quincy McKnight. McKnight has since withdrawn from the race and endorsed Morgan Ortagus; he plans to run for Nashville mayor instead in 2023. 

Interestingly, there are no Democratic candidates listed for District 5 at this time.

About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at

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