Seven of the 13 Republican candidates in the 8th Congressional District primary attended a forum in Memphis Tuesday and only one of them — Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell — expressed any reservations about backing presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, reports the Commercial Appeal.
“I do hope that we start to see a little bit more civility in public discourse,” he said.
(Others on hand and declaring support for Trump were former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff, retired banker Raymond Honeycutt, businessman David Maldonado, Shelby County Register Tom Leatherwood, state Sen. Brian Kelsey and Dr. George Flinn, who said he was even wearing a Donald Trump tie.)
…The embrace of Trump by most illustrated the tone of the candidate’s forum — the seven candidates, all Republicans, expressed similarly conservative views.
The seven candidates present at the forum were among 13 Republicans in the race to replace incumbent U.S. Rep. Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, who is not running for re-election. Candidate Brad Greer of Jackson complained he was left out. Sam Goff, with forum sponsors Mortgage Bankers Association of Memphis, said the group decided to limit participants to Shelby County candidates. None of the Democratic or independent candidates appeared.
Several candidates called for lower taxes and deregulation of business. Leatherwood called for abolition of the Environmental Protection Agency. “The Number One issue I hear from the farmers as I travel across the district is the EPA,” he said.
The CA has a separate story on Greer’s complaints that candidates from outside Shelby County were excluded. Excerpt:
Greer said rural West Tennessee is being treated as an afterthought in a race dominated by Shelby County candidates.
“If we end up sending this seat to Shelby County then the other 14 counties will just be forgotten,” Greer said, “and that’s exactly what’s happened.”
Greer said previous forums in the district have limited participants based on money raised. Greer’s campaign raised $104,000 as of April, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission, and he said he’s spending money and time campaigning in Shelby County.
But organizers say no one was intentionally left out of the debate. Sam Goff, with forum sponsors Mortgage Bankers Association of Memphis, said the group decided to limit participants to Shelby County candidates when they realized how many candidates were running for the seat. He said this was the group’s first attempt at a forum.