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Williamson County GOP elects Omar Hamada as new chairman

Four new candidates entered the race for Tennessee’s new-look 5th Congressional District on Monday, the first day candidates could pull petitions for the August state primary.

Morgan Ortagus, Kurt Winstead and Omar Hamada joined a crowded Republican field that already included Quincy McKnight, Robby Starbuck, Baxter Lee and Natisha Brooks. Rick Shannon, an Independent candidate, also announced his intention to run.

Ortagus, a former Fox News personality living in Nashville, was recently endorsed by former President Donald Trump. She worked in the State Department during Trump’s tenure in office.

“As a U.S. Navy Reserve Officer, I am answering the call to service, and I will never back down from fighting for my country and the good people of Tennessee to stand for American greatness,” Ortagus said in her campaign announcement. “I’m grateful to have President Trump’s support, and I look forward to earning your vote and standing with you to protect our conservative values.”

Shannon, a Franklin native, is a veteran who is also a business owner, author, father and pastor, according to his campaign website.

“There is far too much disparity right now, not just in America, but here where we live. That is not who we are,” Shannon said in a news release. “We deserve someone who will reunite our voices as one instead of widening the chasm further.

“We here in Tennessee pull together as one anytime we are challenged with a flood, tornado, snow/ice storm or whatever is thrown at us.”

Winstead is a Franklin native and former National Guard brigadier general. 

“The changing of the 5th [District] is a unique opportunity for residents in the district to have a conservative voice in Congress at a crucial time when our country is at a crossroads,” he said recently when asked about the redistricting of the 5th District.

Hamada is the former chair of the Williamson County Republican Party. The ordained minister is a graduate of the University of Tennessee College of Medicine and completed a residency in both family medicine and gynecology. He also served as a flight surgeon and diving medical officer with the U.S. Army 20th Special Forces Group (ABN Green Berets) and was deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. A Bronze Star recipient, he separated from the Army after 15-years with the rank of Lt. Colonel and has lived in Franklin since 2003.

Gov. Bill Lee signed off on legislation Monday officially redrawing the state’s congressional boundaries and splitting Nashville into three districts. The 5th District, which used to encompass all of Nashville, now includes parts of Williamson and Wilson counties. 

Longtime 5th District Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) decided to retire at the end of his term. Odessa Kelly has filed to run on the Democratic side for the seat.

The filing deadline for the Aug. 4 primary is April 7. 

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