A Republican candidate backed by President Donald Trump was removed by the ballot by the Tennessee GOP, along with several other candidates.
According to a report by The Hill the Tennessee Republican Party has removed three candidates from their primary ballot for their state House races, including one endorsed by Trump, causing questions to be sparked about the reason for the removal.
“The Tennessee Republican Party voted on Tuesday to dismiss Trump-backed Morgan Ortagus, who previously served as a spokesperson at the State Department, as well as Baxter Lee and Robby Starbuck, from the primary ballot for the state’s 5th Congressional District,” state GOP Chairman Scott Golden confirmed to The Hill.
According to the Republican Party’s state bylaws, candidates have to have voted in three of the last four GOP statewide primaries in their county of residence.
Candidates must also be actively involved in Tennessee or their county Republican parties, which proved to be a problem for the candidates removed from the ballots for this year’s primary.
Ortagus, who previously reviewed the nod of endorsement from Trump said that she is “deeply disappointed” by the party’s decision and that her campaign is looking for what their next steps will be.
“I’m a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric. I’m further disappointed that the party insiders at the Tennessee Republican Party do not seem to share my commitment to President Trump’s America First policies,” Ortagus said in a statement.
“As I have said all along, I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative – not establishment party insiders. Our team is evaluating the options before us,” she added.
The Trump-backed candidate’s spokesperson said that the candidate met the qualifications in the state GOP’s bylaws, particularly noting that she was a 3/4 primary voter, and active in the Nashville Republican Women and the Republican Women of Williamson County.