NASHVILLE — The head of Americans for Prosperity's Tennessee chapter, Andy Ogles, said Thursday he is running for the U.S. Senate seat held by U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., who continues to weigh a bid for a third term.
"In less than a year the Republican primary will give us an opportunity to make choices that will impact future generations of Tennesseans," Ogles, 46, said in a news release. "Conservative leadership means more than making promises, it means keeping them."
Noting that Republican majorities in the House and Senate haven't been able to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, balance the budget, cut taxes or tackle $20 trillion in debt, "any career politician who has spent more than 12 years in D.C. has helped create the problem," he said.
Ogles' group is a part of Americans for Prosperity, a pro-business libertarian group funded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch.
For months, Ogles has been weighing a primary challenge to Corker, who has refused to say if he will run for a third term.
Ogles is the first declared GOP candidate, but state Sen. Mark Green, R-Ashland City, told the Times Free Press Wednesday he is considering a challenge to Corker. So is former state Rep. Joe Carr, a Lascassas Republican.
In his news release, in which he describes himself as having "commanded" Americans for Properity-Tennessee, Ogles boasted that during his tenure the group's "grassroots army" defeated efforts to expand Medicaid health care to thousands of Tennesseans twice and "led the fight" against Common Core curriculum standards in K-12 education.
His group failed in efforts to kill Gov. Bill Haslam's IMPROVE ACT and its gas tax.
"Over the past several months it has become increasingly clear that too many of our elected officials in Washington are failing our country, failing to fulfill their promises, and failing our future," Ogles said. "Sadly, Republicans who promised to govern as conservatives if we would just 'give them a majority' are letting us down the most, including our senators from Tennessee."
James Mackler, a Nashville attorney and Iraq war veteran, is running in the Democratic primary.
Contact Andy Sher at email@example.com or 615-255-0550.
This story was updated Sept. 14 at 11:59 p.m.