Will Roe run for re-election in 2018?

Hank Hayes • Jan 2, 2018 at 9:30 PM

KINGSPORT — U.S. Rep. Phil Roe said Tuesday he’ll decide in the next week to 10 days whether he’ll seek re-election.

“I always said from the very beginning I was going to stay (in Congress) 10 or 12 years, five to six terms,” Roe, R-Tenn., said before speaking to a Greater Kingsport Republican Women’s luncheon.

Roe was first elected in 2008 after defeating incumbent U.S. Rep. David Davis in the 1st Congressional District Republican primary.

A retired obstetrician/gynecologist, Roe chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and co-chairs the House GOP Doctors’ Caucus.

As of Sept. 30, 2017, his campaign account reported having more than $480,000 cash on hand.

If Roe does seek re-election, he’ll have opposition in the Republican primary from Todd McKinley. Dr. Martin Olsen, an East Tennessee State University ObGyn professor and medical practitioner, has announced his intent to run for the Democratic nomination.

How was 2017 for President Trump and the GOP-controlled Congress?

“A year ago (in 2016), we had an election where nobody dreamed the results,” Roe told luncheon attendees about Donald Trump’s victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. “We elected a man who was really unique in that he never held public office and had never been into politics except for participating like most of us. … He named about five things he wanted to do … repeal and replace Obamacare because he felt like it was failing for the majority of people … (he wanted) regulatory reform because it’s a drag on our economy. … He wanted immigration reform and a border wall. … Number four, he wanted to do something about the VA (Veterans Administration) because it was a failing system. … Lastly, he wanted to do something about tax reform and strengthen the military.”

The U.S. House, Roe noted, passed an Obamacare repeal-and-replace measure that didn’t get through the Senate.

VA reform began with Congress passing and Trump signing legislation to allow the organization to fire bad employees, Roe reported.

Roe added that Congress also passed a “Forever G.I.” bill increasing veterans’ benefits, in addition to tax reform.

“I saw what the 1986 tax bill did that (President) Ronald Reagan passed,” Roe said of tax reform, which dropped the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to around 20 percent.

Roe also took the Senate to task for failing to pass more than 300 bills approved by the House, including his measure to repeal the independent payment advisory board created to slow Medicare growth.

What will 2018 be like?

“We’ve got two weeks to get a budget done, basically a CR (continuing resolution). We need no more of those because of military spending,” Roe said. “We’ve got the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals bill). … This should be done by the U.S. Congress and not by executive order.”

How’s Trump doing?

“The president has had a spectacular year with the judiciary,” Roe stressed. “ … President Trump now has Neil Gorsuch as a Supreme Court justice. … I’ve gotten to know (Trump) a little bit. … The view you get from the media is different than when you see this man personally. He’s very gracious.”

What will the 2018 mid-term elections be like?

“We have a tremendous headwind in the 2018,” Roe warned. “(Trump) has lighted a fire under the opposition. … (Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate) Ed Gillespie got 100,000 more than (former Gov.) Bob McDonnell got and lost by six or seven points. … We have big elections coming up this year.”


Recommended for You