The Tennessee Republican Party removed Morgan Ortagus, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump, and two others from the August primary ballot in the state's 5th Congressional District, NBC News reported.
Ortagus, who was a State Department spokeswoman in the Trump administration, was disqualified by the GOP's State Executive Committee (SEC) on Tuesday, because she had only recently moved to Tennessee.
"I am deeply disappointed in the SEC's decision," Ortagus said in a statement. "I'm a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric. I’m further disappointed that the party insiders at the Tennessee Republican Party do not seem to share my commitment to President Trump’s America first policies."
She added that "voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative — not establishment party insiders," stressing that "our team is evaluating the options before us."
The primary is one of many nationwide in which Trump's influence will be tested.
The SEC has the authority to boot candidates from the primary ballot if they do not adhere to the state GOP's bylaws, which mandate that a candidate voted in three of the last four Republican primaries, as well as having actively participated in the state or local GOP parties, NBC News reported.
The committee also voted to remove fellow candidates Robby Starbuck and Baxter Lee, whose candidacies were also challenged.
Although Ortagus entered the competitive primary for the newly drawn 5th District in February with the former president's "complete and total endorsement," her candidacy rubbed some state and local Republicans the wrong way, in part because she had moved to Tennessee only last year.
The SEC's decision to disqualify the three candidates cuts down a crowded field competing for the GOP nomination in the district during the Aug. 4 primary, according to the Nashville Tennessean.
Among the most prominent candidates remaining are Nashville lawyer and retired National Guard Brig. Gen. Kurt Winstead, former House Speaker Beth Harwell and Maury County Mayor Andy Ogles.
The existing 5th District is represented by longtime Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat who announced his retirement after the Republican-controlled Legislature's new voting maps were released, making the district significantly more conservative, according to NBC News.
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