Stage set for races for 3 open US House seats in Tennessee

Friday, August 3, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 31

MEMPHIS (AP) — The stage is set for spirited races for three open U.S. House seats in Tennessee.

Voters on Thursday chose Republican and Democratic candidates in House districts where longtime GOP Congressman John Duncan Jr. retired and fellow Republicans Marsha Blackburn and Diane Black moved on to seek other political jobs. The races for all nine House seats in Tennessee will be decided in the Nov. 6 general election.

In East Tennessee's District 2 — where Duncan was first elected in 1988 to a seat held by his father for more than two decades — Democrat Renee Hoyos will face the GOP's Tim Burchett in the general election.

Hoyos, of Knoxville, has served as the executive director of the Tennessee Clean Water Network. Burchett is Knox County's mayor. The district is considered strongly Republican.

State Sen. Mark Green didn't have a Republican primary foe in District 7, where the seat was vacated when Blackburn decided to run for U.S. Senate. Green will battle Democrat Justin Kanew, a film producer and former "Amazing Race" contestant who defeated Special Forces Green Beret Matt Reel.

Kanew has never been elected to public office. Green withdrew from consideration for Secretary of the Army last year after he was heavily criticized over his remarks about Muslims, and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans.

Green, a former Army flight surgeon, called the attacks "false and misleading" and accused Democrats and the media of orchestrating a "hit job" on his nomination.

Black's move to run for Tennessee governor made the District 6 seat available. Farmer John Rose defeated retired judge Bob Corlew for the Republican nomination in the contest to represent northern Tennessee. Rose's foe will be Democrat Dawn Barlow, a doctor from Rickman.

All six incumbents will have a chance to retain their House seats in November.

Phil Roe, a Jonesborough Republican, is seeking his sixth term representing Tennessee's 1st Congressional District in the northeastern part of the state. Roe will take on physician Marty Olsen, the lone Democrat in the primary.

Chuck Fleischmann is running for a fifth term representing District 3, which winds its way from the Kentucky state line in northeast Tennessee to Chattanooga in the south. The Ooltewah Republican faces Democrat Danielle Mitchell, a doctor from Hixson who ran unopposed in the primary.

Steve Cohen will defend his seat after he won the Democratic primary in District 9. Cohen is seeking his seventh term representing the city of Memphis. He will face Republican Charlotte Bergmann, who had no opponent in the GOP primary.

A vocal critic of President Donald Trump, Cohen has defeated Bergmann twice before, winning by a landslide on both occasions.

Democrat Jim Cooper of Nashville ran unopposed in his primary. Jody Ball rolled past Glen Dean to win the GOP primary in District 5 and earn the Republican spot opposite Cooper, who has served eight House terms.

In West Tennessee's District 8, Republican David Kustoff held off radiologist and radio station owner George Flinn.

A former U.S. attorney, Kustoff is seeking his second term representing the solidly-Republican district in the House. President Donald Trump endorsed him in the primary.

Flinn went after Kustoff in radio ads by questioning some of his votes in Congress and his conservative qualifications.

In the District 8 Democratic primary, Erika Stotts Pearson was leading John Boatner by 171 votes in a race that was too close to call.

Republican Scott DesJarlais won his primary by a wide margin. He will be challenged by Democrat Mariah Phillips in District 4, which includes the Nashville suburb of Smyrna, the city of Murfreesboro and several southeast Tennessee counties.

Phillips, of Murfreesboro, has worked at Starbucks and as a teacher at an alternative school in Rutherford County. She began targeting DesJarlais in press communications in the weeks before the primary.