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Five Republicans make their case for 1st Congressional District seat

Hank Hayes • Jul 7, 2020 at 4:00 PM

KINGSPORT — Five of the 16 Republican candidates on the ballot in the 1st Congressional District August GOP Primary election pitched their campaigns to a Republicans of Kingsport luncheon on Monday.

Rusty Crowe

Leading off was state Sen.Rusty Crowe, a Johnson City Republican who declared Republicans are "at war" with socialism.

"We didn't do what we should have done when we had the opportunity years ago," Crowe insisted. "We didn't fix Obamacare. We didn't fix the (southern) border. We didn't enforce immigration like we should. We didn't balance the budget. We didn't keep our promises. We need to win back Congress and keep our promises. President Trump has had to do it all on his own."

John Clark

Former Kingsport Mayor John Clark noted he could improve the quality of life in the district and recruit more jobs.

"I'm a freedom fighter," Clark said. "No one will fight harder for you to protect the freedoms and the Constitution. Many of you know my personal story. I was born in Cuba. We came here legally. All of our freedoms are under attack by the leftist socialist Democrats."

David Hawk

State Rep. David Hawk, a Greeneville Republican who is also running to keep his state House seat, stressed his small business background.

"(U.S. House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi doesn't scare me," Hawk declared. "I worked with (former state House Speaker) Jimmy Naifeh. If you can put up with Jimmy Naifeh, you can put up with anybody."

Diana Harshbarger

Kingsport pharmacist Diana Harshbarger stressed she knows how to listen to people.

"A lot of times, these professional politicians haven't learned how to listen," she said. "And they've forgotten the very people who put them in office in the first place. That's not good."

Steve Darden

Former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden, an attorney, started his remarks by using the words of former President Ronald Reagan.

"He nailed it (when he said) 'the best social program is a good job,'" Darden said. "Before the COVID-19 crisis, our economy was roaring. I think it's safe to call it the Trump economy. We all want to get back to that and we will. The economy is number one and I intend to make that job one."

Early voting begins on July 17.

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