Durham reelection backed by Casada, Johnson

From a Tennessean story:
Rep. Jeremy Durham may no longer be a member of the House Republican Caucus nor have an office in the Capitol building, be a “continuing risk to unsuspecting women” and the subject of an ongoing investigation by the state’s attorney general but that doesn’t mean he’s not receiving support from his fellow Republican colleagues.

When Durham, R-Franklin, officially kicked off his campaign Tuesday, Sen. Jack Johnson and Rep. Glen Casada, both of Franklin, were among the supporters who gathered at Lillie Belle’s in downtown Franklin.

On Friday, Casada said he attended the event because of the fact that he’s the chairman of the House Republican Caucus and part of his job includes supporting “all the incumbents.”

“It’s my duty to come to their fundraisers and go to their events and be there,” he said. The move comes despite the fact that Durham is no longer a member of the Republican caucus — a fact which Casada admits has created a different situation than he’s ever faced.

“This is new ground for me,” said Casada, who earlier this week acknowledged that he accidentally left Durham on the caucus’ email list for months.

When asked if he plans on endorsing Durham, who is facing challengers in both the August primary and November general election, Casada avoided using the word but reminded The Tennessean that both he and Durham are Republicans. (Note: Durham has two opponents in the August GOP primary, Stacey L. Givens of Fairview and Sam Whitson of Franklin.)

…Johnson said he didn’t donate to Durham during this week’s event and was uncertain whether or not he will write him a check in the future. But that doesn’t mean Johnson is shying away from Durham, who he said hasn’t asked him for money.

“He’s a friend and he asked me to come to his event,” Johnson said.

…Rep. Charles Sargent, also of Franklin, said he did not attend Durham’s campaign kickoff because he had a prior engagement. When asked if he would offer any support to his colleague, Sargent said he was focused on his own race. Sargent is being challenged by Steve Gawrys and Terrence Smith in the August primary.