When Morgan Ortagus announced her bid for a House seat in Tennessee last month, she did so with former President Donald Trump’s “complete and total endorsement." That used to be a surefire way for a GOP candidate instantly to become competitive in a crowded field.
As NBC News reports, the thumbs up from Trump may not have much clout in Tennessee. Some in the GOP aren't fond of Trump’s endorsement, which they view essentially as an anointment. State Sen. Frank Niceley, who has led the legislative effort to institute a three-year minimum residency requirement for political candidates, said, "I voted for Trump. I supported him. I’ll vote for Trump as long as he lives. But I don’t want him coming out here to tell me who to vote for.”
What's more, because Ortagus only moved to the Volunteer State last year she could be stymied by the residency bill working its way through Tennessee's legislature.
The backlash against Ortagus “shocked” a member of the state executive committee.
“I'm not real happy about it myself,” the person said. “But I'm surprised at the depth and the width of the pushback on this.”
Ortagus is a former Trump State Department spokesperson and also has been endorsed by her former boss, Mike Pompeo.
Rep. Heidi Campbell, a Democrat, has a harsh assessment of Ortagus' potential candidacy. In a guest column in the Tennessean, she wrote: "Ortagus missed the mark with her introductory pitch to us. Perhaps she hasn’t taken time to listen to any real Tennesseans. Her entitled tone was honed in a pro-Trump D.C. think tank where they formulated the plan to gerrymander a new congressional district just for her.
"She is here to grab power, and she has no interest in serving the people of our state. But she has belittled and underestimated the Tennesseans I grew up with, admire, and feel honored to represent," Campbell wrote.
Since leaving her State Department position Ortagus has been a frequent commentator on Fox News.
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