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Trump ally Grenell backs Ortagus over Starbuck amid GOP split to win Tennessee House seat

The former acting DNI during the Trump administration endorsed the former Pompeo staffer after previously endorsing her primary opponent.

Published: February 24, 2022 9:39am

Updated: February 24, 2022 10:25am

Ric Grenell, the former acting Director of National Intelligence during the Trump administration, endorsed Morgan Ortagus to become the next U.S. representative for Tennessee's 5th Congressional District.

The former ambassador to Germany pulled his previous endorsement of Robby Starbuck, which both the Starbuck and Ortagus campaigns have confirmed. 

"Today I am proud to endorse Morgan Ortagus for Congress. I fought on the front lines with Morgan defending the United States and putting America First. I am grateful for her willingness to once again serve the people," said Grenell. 

The announcement arrived as Grenell and Ortagus attended a function together at Mar-a-Lago on Wednesday for Trump-endorsed candidates.

Starbuck, who announced his campaign close to nine months ago, said it was unsurprising that Grenell pulled his endorsement. 

"As the co-chair of President Trump’s PAC for 2022 it’s no surprise to me that Ric Grenell had to endorse candidates that President Trump has endorsed. Tennesseans understand the politics of that situation. I’m overjoyed with the America First coalition of endorsements my campaign has received from Senator Rand Paul, Candace Owens, Rep. Thomas Massie, Williamson County Sheriff Dusty Rhoades, Rep. Madison Cawthorn, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, Charlie Kirk, AZ Gov Candidate Kari Lake, NYC Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump Lawyer Jenna Ellis, Rep. Ken Buck, Dr. Sebastian Gorka and many more. We’ll win this race on the ground alongside the people of Tennessee," said team Starbuck.

Ortagus said she was "humbled" to receive Grenell's endorsement. "Ambassador Grenell and I worked together in the trenches to put America First, and in Congress, I’m going to continue our good work!" she said.

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