Congressional candidates in Northeast Tennessee working to sway last-minute votes

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TRI-CITIES, Tenn. (WJHL)- Election day is now less than two weeks away and both women running to replace retiring Congressman Phil Roe’s seat for the first district have been campaigning in Northeast Tennessee in hopes of heading to D.C. after November 3rd.

“I’m going to push the trade schools, working with these workforce development programs to get people good paying jobs and we want to attract those people to this area like we never done that before,” said Republican nominee Diana Harshbarger at Wednesday’s “Road to Victory” bus tour in Sullivan county.

As the countdown is on for election day, both Harshbarger and her Democratic opponent Blair Walsingham are making their pitch to voters in the district that spans across 12 counties.

“There is one main thing that we really have to do and that’s investing in infrastructure and this includes making sure that we get that internet expansion,” Walsingham told News Channel 11’s Anslee Daniel. “Too many times companies have passed us up here in East Tennessee because we don’t have the right infrastructure.”

Both candidates have been meeting with different groups. On Wednesday’s GOP statewide tour, Harshbarger went to different counties to encourage people to vote and elect Republican candidates.

“Go out and take people to the polls. Run that number up for our President. Our goal is to get our president re-elected, take the house back, and secure the senate. And then we’ll be on our way to saving our country for the next generation,” Harshbarger said.

On the same day, Walsingham met with leaders of the Wounded Warrior Project. Later in the week, she will be featured on an episode of the “Breaking Barriers” podcast with Los Angeles police officer Ryan Tillman. Breaking Barriers was created to help build relationships between law enforcement and communities.

“Some other candidates talk about supporting one particular person or only on a particular party. I am about America, America first, truly. And that involves everybody in it,” Walsingham said. “I am not particular on who gets elected based on party-line but who’s going to do the right job in listening to their constituents and then bringing that to the table.”

Walsingham and Harshbarger are calling on people to go to the polls this season.

“The Democratic party has an agenda. This is the most important election of our lifetime and we’re going to have to fight for our faith. We’re going to have to fight for our families and we’re going to have to fight for freedom and the future of this country,” Harshbarger said.

Walsingham also alluded to the interest and importance of this election cycle.

“This election is so important because there’s so much turmoil. We need to choose very carefully right now leaders who do not use fear mongering to control votes but leaders who offer up opportunity and true freedom and representation and lead with uniting people,” Walsingham said.

Although some have already made up their minds on which candidate they will be checking on the ballot during early voting or on election day, both are hoping to sway last-minute voters in the final days.

“When I go to D.C., my job is to represent this district and that does include every single member of my community regardless of what party affiliation it is. It’s my job to hear them and bring that to D.C. and let them know what we need here and make sure that they get it,” said Walsingham.

Harshbarger saying she plans to follow in Congressman Roe’s footsteps.

“I just want to pick the baton up and go even further than Dr. Roe has done for our veterans and the healthcare system. This is a precious district and I’ve taken care of these people on a local level for 30 years and I just want to take that mantle and do that at a federal level,” Harshbarger said. “I want to be a voice. I don’t want to be a rank and file member. I’m up there to do what I can do for this district and to take our country back.”

As this year marks 100 years of women being able to vote, both candidates are mindful of the significance of having two women as the major party nominees.

“I’m just honored and privileged that I’m the Republican nominee and all I’m asking people to do is go out and take people to the polls. Run that number up for our president,” Harshbarger said.
“Our goal is to get our president re-elected, take the house back, and secure the senate. And then we’ll be on our way to saving our country for the next generation.”

Harshbarger and Walsingham hoping this sets a precedent for years to come.

“It’s leading the way for the next generation of women to step up and to step into leadership roles as well and I just truly think it’s exciting and generational,” Walsingham said.

Walsingham’s campaign said they are running a television ad on a few stations but didn’t have the funds to broadcast it on a larger scale. The ad is also posted on her website. Harshbarger’s campaign is also running ads, earlier this week she said she has won the endorsement of county sheriffs and constables from every county in the district.

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