Tennessee Jewish Republican Faces Christian Conservative Challenger
(JTA) — David Kustoff, running for re-election in Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District, has three things in his favor: incumbency, a solid Republican district and President Donald Trump’s endorsement.
Kustoff is not taking anything for granted, though: Ahead of the Republican primary on Thursday, he is facing a challenger, George Flinn, who has spent more than twice what he has on the campaign and likes to remind voters that he is a “Christian conservative.”
Which is notable because Kustoff is Jewish.
“It’s unfortunate that someone would try and use David’s Jewishness against him as a wedge issue in the election,” said Matthew Brooks, the CEO of the Republican Jewish Coalition. “The idea that someone would use race or religion or sexuality as a wedge stands against everything we hold true in the democratic process.”
In 2016, when Kustoff won his freshman bid for Congress, Flinn described himself as a “Christian conservative” on the eve of the primary, and in response to a negative ad from Kustoff’s campaign.
This time around it has been a recurrent theme. In a post on his campaign website accompanying a video ad, Flinn deployed the “Christian” theme in a particularly loaded context: abortion rights.
“If you want someone who will protect and stand up for our Christian, conservative values… then I’m your candidate,” Flinn said.
This story "Tennessee Jewish Republican Faces ‘Christian’ Challenge" was written by Ron Kampeas.