Trump Backed Former House Candidate Now Advising On Opponent’s Campaign

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The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

Once endorsed by former President Donald Trump for Tennessee District 5’s spot in the U.S. House, one former candidate is serving as a national security advisor for another campaign after Republican Party officials found her to be ineligible to run for office.

Republican Congressional candidate Kurt Winstead’s team announced on Monday that Morgan Ortagus was now serving as the co-chair of a newly formed National Security Advisory Committee for his campaign.

Winstead is a retired brigadier general in the Tennessee National Guard. He touted Ortagus’ work as a U.S. Navy Reserve officer and noted that she had worked in the U.S. State Department and had recently started a national security advocacy group.

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Ortagus formerly served as a State Department spokesperson under Trump and had received his endorsement for the state office. She is one of three candidates who were taken off of the August primary ballot for the newly redrawn 5th Congressional District. Voting officials removed them due to concerns with their voting records. 


A number of candidates are vying for the spot left open by Democratic Representative Jim Cooper who said he would not seek reelection because he did not want to run in the redrawn district. He believed the new lines made it unlikely that he would win.

Republican critics of Ortagus’ candidacy felt that her recent move to the state kept her from having a good understanding of the district or its constituents. A number of other Republicans are seeking the seat as well, including Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles and former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell.

After a measure was passed that would place residency requirements on most U.S. House and Senate candidates, Governor Bill Lee failed to sign the bill, allowing it to become law without his signature after the filing deadline had already passed. Because of this, it would not be applied retroactively.

However, eventual challenges to various election rules pushed Ortagus off of the ballot, along with Baxter Lee and Robby Starbuck. Starbuck has since taken the matter to court, where a judge has ruled against him.

Ortagus’ new role still gives her an in to state government, although not in the role she originally intended.

About the Author: Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative  ~ Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Director for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

3 thoughts on “Trump Backed Former House Candidate Now Advising On Opponent’s Campaign

  • May 25, 2022 at 4:02 pm

    It seems the GOP is no better than the Democrats when it come to political chicanery. It not for the elites to decide who’s on any ticket. It is up to the voters to decide who they will or will not vote for. To me, it’s a simple case of CYA because a Trump supported candidate would have an excellent chance of winning. The so-called “questionable voting record” as I read it simple means these excluded candidates did not toe the party line. So much for real, honest elections. It begins to look very much like voters are left with the choice of voting for the individual or party they consider the lesser of two evils.

    • May 25, 2022 at 5:58 pm

      Not this year in the 5th District Republican primary Ralph because conservatives have a fabulous choice in Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles. Andy has been an outspoken conservative stalwart in the Midstate area for over a decade as he was past director Americans For Prosperity – Tennessee and he has recently received the endorsement of the House Freedom Caucus in this race. All Tennessee conservatives should do whatever they can to support the election of Andy Ogles.

  • May 25, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    That’s why you don’t play dirty against your opponent in the Primaries. Later it takes a group effort to get a win for the Party.


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