Leading House Republican Rep. Debra Maggart hasn’t decided whether she’ll make another go if it in 2014 following her recent GOP primary defeat in Sumner County.
The Hendersonville Republican blamed her loss on the National Rifle Federation and the Tennessee Firearms Association which “dumped over $150,000” worth of political ads into the race, she said.
“To tell the people of my district over and over and over that I am for gun control, which is a total lie, was very effective. People say they don’t like negative campaigning, but negative campaigning works,” she said following a roundtable discussion between Gov. Bill Haslam, legislators and business and education officials about improving higher education while at Tennessee Technology Center in Nashville Tuesday.
A review of contributions by political action committees indicated the NRA and TFA collectively injected $102,000 into the race.
Maggart’s opponent, Lt. Col. Courtney Rogers, enjoyed a 57 percent favorable vote to Maggart’s 43 percent to defeat the incumbent in the Aug. 2 Republican primary election. Rogers now goes on to compete with Democrat Jeanette Jackson in the general.
Maggart, who will serve out her term until the Nov. 6 election, said her loss does anything but call into question public concern over the direction legislative leaders are taking the state.
“Only then did it start getting people’s attention, and according to my polling data, it didn’t get heated until the NRA did what they did,” she said.
Asked whether she would run for reelection in 2014 to reclaim the legislative seat she’s held since 2005, she said it’s too early to tell what the future holds.