Supporters of Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles this past week celebrated winning Tennessee's Fifth Congressional District Republican primary in the Nashville area after a bruising, attack-filled campaign.
Once early votes started to come in, Ogles held a strong lead over former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell and continued to lead throughout the night.
Ogles, former director of Americans for Prosperity - Tennessee, appealed to far-right conservatives with his avid support of former President Donald Trump and public declarations on unauthorized immigration and Second Amendment rights. He successfully painted Harwell, who placed second, as a career politician.
Around 10 p.m. Ogles stood in front of a crowded room at the Residence Inn Franklin Berry Farms. Surrounded by his wife and three children, Ogles announced he had won the Republican primary and planned to immediately continue his campaign to assure his win in the November general election. He now faces the winner of the Democratic primary, Sen. Heidi Campbell of Nashville.
"God has a plan for this country, but what it takes is for people like you, like myself, to stand up and say, 'I've had enough, and I want my country back,'" he said. "When I think about this budget, we've been on a spending spree for too long, and as someone who was endorsed by the House Freedom Caucus, we've got to get into this budget and we've got to break it. We've got to tear it down. We don't need to be spending money," Ogles continued.
Ogles pivoted to talk about closing down the border, criticizing the record of President Joe Biden.
"And to lazy Joe, you need to be impeached, and the Secretary of Homeland Security should be tried for treason for letting too many people take control," he said.
Ogles said it was time to "get D.C. out of Tennessee."
As the crowd celebrated late into the night, supporters said Ogles' actions as mayor of Maury County influenced their support of him in his congressional bid.
"Andy represents all that's good in America: freedom and small government. When he stood up against the (COVID-19) mandates, that was really important to me because I don't believe the government should be telling me what to do in our own town," said Helena O'Neal, who volunteered to help the Ogles campaign.
Another volunteer, Gini David, said she first met Ogles while working at Maury County's MuleFest in 2021, where country music artist Trace Adkins performed.
"When Trace Adkins came forward and said he wanted to do something nice for Maury County because of the way Andy handled COVID, he gave us a free concert, which was wonderful," David said, adding that the candidate "was very charismatic. I think he's going to be a great leader. He's fearless, and he stood up against all the COVID mandates, and people like that. They need someone to go fight for them in Washington, and Andy's the guy," she added.
Read more at TennesseeLookout.com.