U.S. Rep. Diane Black is skipping the Republican National Convention this year to campaign in her home district while U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. hasn’t decided if he’ll make the Cleveland scene. Otherwise, reports Michael Collins, all of Tennessee’s Republican senators and representatives plan to be on hand.
“While I enthusiastically support Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and would, of course, appreciate the opportunity to take part in such a historic occasion, I ultimately believed that my time is best spent here in Tennessee,” the Gallatin Republican said.
GOP leaders across the country who can’t stomach the thought of Trump as their party’s standard-bearer are skipping the nominating convention, which opens July 18 in Cleveland. Prominent Republicans taking a pass include more than a dozen U.S. senators.
Black is staying home for a different reason.
Tennessee’s primary will take place Aug. 4, just two weeks after the GOP convention ends. Given that she faces a challenge from three fellow Republicans — state Rep. Joe Carr, Tommy Hay and Donald Strong — Black decided to remain in Tennessee and hold meet-and-greet events across the state’s 6th Congressional District.
Rep. John J. Duncan Jr. of Knoxville hasn’t yet decided whether he’ll attend the convention. But if he stays away, it won’t be because of Trump. Duncan has publicly endorsed the New York real estate mogul and has been vocal about his support for Trump’s campaign.
“At this point, I have not decided (about the convention) because I have some events in my district that I feel I should attend,” Duncan said.
“In our country, we are very fortunate that the people through the democratic process choose the president of the United States, and the conventions are an important part of that,” Alexander said. “So I consider it a privilege to attend the convention and have tried to do so most of the years I have been active in public life.”
Corker, who could end up with a Cabinet post in a Trump administration, has been offered a speaking role at the convention.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood also has been invited to speak and will serve throughout the week as a Trump “surrogate,” speaking on behalf of the campaign in interviews and at events.
“Our party is seeing record turnout in the primaries, and I think that’s a great indication of the excitement going into the general election,” Blackburn said. “We’re looking forward to an energized convention and a Trump White House.”