Andy Ogles

Aaron Gulbransen Says Andy Ogles’ Campaign Finance Issues Are ‘Real,’ but Not What the ‘Average Voter Cares About’

May 24, 2024

Aaron Gulbransen, executive director of the Tennessee Faith and Freedom Coalition, said the controversy surrounding Tennessee U.S. Representative Andy Ogles’ (R-TN-05) campaign filings with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) is “real,” however, he said he believes it is not of much concern for the average voter.

On Thursday, Ogles submitted 11 amended campaign filings with the FEC, showing that his campaign originally misstated its cash-on-hand in June 2022 by more than $290,000, as previously reported by The Tennessee Star.

Ogles addressed the mistake in a statement, saying, “At the beginning of the 2022 campaign cycle, I pledged $320,000 to use toward my own campaign efforts if needed.

“That $320,000 pledge comprised several documented assets, including bank and retirement accounts, which I was ready to personally risk for the chance to fight for Middle Tennessee. While we only needed to transfer $20,000, unfortunately, the full amount of my pledge was mistakenly included on my campaign’s FEC reports,” Ogles added.

Gulbransen, on Thursday’s episode of The Michael Patrick Leahy Show, said that while Ogles’ mistake is “real” and “cannot be swept under the rug,” it’s unlikely to affect the average voter.

“Let’s be clear here. These are real issues. These are not like sweep ’em under the rug issues, but these are not issues that the average voter cares about. At the end of the day, that’s what matters,” Gulbransen, a former reporter for The Star, said.

Meanwhile, Ogles’ opponent in the 5th Congressional District GOP primary race, Metro Nashville Councilwoman Courtney Johnston, attempted to turn the incumbent’s FEC filings mistake into a campaign boost for herself.

In a statement, Johnston said, “Andy Ogles lied to the federal government and got caught. Normal folks get in big trouble for lying to the feds about money, but Andy is a politician who thinks he deserves a free pass and two more years of a taxpayer salary.”

“If Andy Ogles is willing to lie about his own money, what won’t he lie about? “Voters in Middle Tennessee deserve a Member of Congress they can trust. That’s why I’m running,” Johnston added.

To Johnston’s statement, Gulbransen pointed out the polarizing differences in Ogles and the Metro councilwoman’s campaigns, noting how voters will ultimately have to choose between a candidate with a proven conservative voting record and a candidate with a questionable left-leaning record.

“What we know is Courtney Johnson is pro-Transgender Day of Remembrance, pro-red flag laws, and didn’t want the Covenant manifesto released. So that candidate is not a conservative candidate, not in line with the values of the actual normal primary voters in the Republican party,” Gulbransen explained.

“Can a candidate, and then this is the question now, can a candidate with that profile take down a candidate who is conservative, is notably pro-life, is notably fighting illegal immigration in the United States of America, stands with Donald Trump, but has just god awful records on his finance reports? That’s what we’re looking at,” Gulbransen added.

Gulbransen did note, however, that Ogles ultimately has “given Courtney Johnston an opening to attack him on something” through his FEC filings mistake leading up to the August 1 primary election.

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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network. Follow Kaitlin on X / Twitter.
Photo “Andy Ogles” by Andy Ogles. 





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