Dec 7, 2023 - News

Megan Barry announces congressional run

Megan Barry. Photo: Courtesy of the Barry campaign

Former Nashville Mayor Megan Barry launched an underdog bid for Congress on Wednesday against incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Mark Green in Tennessee's 7th district.

Why it matters: In Barry, Democrats have a skilled politician with excellent name recognition to rally behind, although she also has baggage related to her shocking 2018 resignation.

  • In addition to a large portion of Davidson County, the district stretches from the Kentucky border down to Alabama.

Between the lines: Barry will look to revive her political career, which was knocked off course when she resigned from office following the revelation of an affair with the head of her security detail.

What she's saying: Barry said in a press release addressing the "raging overdose crisis, all-too-frequent mass shootings, and the closure of local rural hospitals" are her primary reasons for running.

  • Her son Max died in 2017 as the result of an overdose, and she's become an evangelist for addiction recovery since then. Barry's book "It's What You Do Next," which is about her son's death and her mayoral years, is scheduled to be released early next year.
  • She also singled out Tennessee's abortion ban, which Green supports, in her campaign announcement. "On virtually every issue that matters most to Tennesseans — a thriving economy, health care access, education, gun violence, reproductive rights — Mark Green is on the wrong side."

Reality check: Green, a medical doctor and former state senator from Clarksville, hasn't been seriously tested since he was elected to represent District 7 in 2018.

  • Green vanquished progressive darling Justin Kanew by 34.8 points that year and political newcomer Kiran Sreepada by 42.6 points in 2020.
  • Last year, Republicans in the legislature redrew the U.S. House district boundaries in a move that put more Democratic voters in Green's district.
  • Green opposed the redistricting and his margin of victory shrunk to 21.9 points when he faced prominent social justice activist Odessa Kelly.

The other side: Green's campaign didn't comment on Barry's announcement but released a statement touting his military career, experience as a doctor and public service.

  • "In Congress, he has been a champion for Tennesseans — leading the fight to secure our border, fix our healthcare system, and defend our constitutional rights," his campaign spokesperson said.
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