Kenny Morgan, a Soddy Daisy High School graduate who had planned to run for the Third Congressional District seat as a Republican, said he is being forced out of the race by tighter Republican rules on who is "a bona fide Republican."
To be considered on the up and up, candidates must be active in the local or state GOP, be “vouched for” by an elected Republican or must have voted in three of the last four statewide Republican primaries (instead of the previous two of the last four).
Morgan said, "In June 2021 the Kenny Morgan for Congress Committee filed with the Federal Election Committee for Tennessee Thgird District with the intent to challenge incumbent Chuck Fleischman for the seat. In December, supportive members of the Hamilton County Republican Party suggested that the Tennessee GOP would challenge my eligibility as a 'bona fide Republican' based on bylaws that were passed to prevent crossover candidates from appearing on the Republican ballot.
"My 30-year Republican voting history was not enough to overcome the political push to negate me from the Republican primary ballot as suggested by supportive members. Tennessee GOP’s bylaws are modifiable for the politically connected but become fixed for political newcomers or first-time candidates. This current situation allows a pocket-size group from within the Republican establishment to determine who is or who is not considered a 'bona fide' Republican. Thus, a handful of individuals, or even one person (Scott Golden, Tennessee Republican Party chairman) can select candidates for the primary ticket and/or prevent the incumbent from having challengers."
Mr. Morgan said, “I understand language within the bylaws was implemented to prevent non-conservatives from running as Republicans. But it is now being used to insulate career politicians from authentic competition – with a select few determining our primary candidates. Under the present governance, Senator Bill Frist would never have become one of our honored senators.”
He said the Kenny Morgan for Congress campaign "reached out to Scott Golden on numerous occasions for clarity and consideration but received no response. National and local Republican leaders who oppose the current language used within the bylaws spoke to me off the record. The incumbent’s political friendships and influences over the process is too much for my grassroots campaign to overcome."
He said, "I am grateful for support our Republican grassroots campaign received. We considered a campaign as an independent candidate but ultimately felt we could not bridge the informational and financial gap needed for a chance to win in the November election.”
Mr. Morgan said, "Career minded, and divisive politicians are putting our nation at risk and are undermining the value of community so the Kenny Morgan for Congress Committee will suspend the 2022 campaign, but will not rule out a future campaign for the congressional seat.
This decision "falls on the eve of a political fundraiser for incumbent Chuck Fleishman where a $2,900 donation buys a 30-minute private reception with Chuck and adds to his already $2.5-million campaign fund. It is troubling when requests for townhall meetings by constituents have been ignored but a generous donation will get you a face-to-face conversation.”
When he announced for the race, Mr. Morgan said, “For seven generations my family has called Tennessee home. The people of this region shaped my life – community leaders, teachers and my family instilled in me the importance of hard work and compassion. When these qualities unite great things happen.”
He said he has more than 35 years of combined experience in the armed services, healthcare, education, chaplainship and as a non-profit leader. He attended Hamilton County Public Schools and graduated from Soddy Daisy High. He served in the U.S. Army Health Services Command at Madigan Army Medical Center. He worked at Tennessee Donors Services, Erlanger Medical Center, Hamilton Health Care System and the Family Resource Agency.
Mr. Morgan and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Davis, a local pediatrician, "have dedicated their lives to servant leadership. "They believe strongly in investing in our future – our children and their health. Kenny has volunteered or served in various non-profit organizations throughout the region. He has served on Judd Cancer Center Patient Advisory Board, led T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital (now Erlanger Children’s Hospital) Family Advisory Council, and mentored youth from Bethel Bible Village. Kenny’s son, Kenny Morgan Jr. is an entrepreneur and local small business owner.
"The concerns that are important to Tennesseans are important to Kenny Morgan. These include affordable healthcare, accelerating student achievement, small business opportunity, safe communities, national security and protecting our constitution.
"Kenny is concerned that career minded, and divisive politicians have put our nation at risk and undermined the value of community. He is also troubled by the increasing influence of big donors from outside our district. “We deserve better. It is time for someone to represent all of us, not just the economic elite.”
"Kenny believes in people focused leadership. He will represent local concerns at the national level."
Mr. Morgan said, “The people of this region inspire me; have taught me to listen well and to follow through. It would be an honor to give back to my district and represent our concerns within the people’s house.”