The Republican race to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. Phil Roe went down to the wire late Thursday as incomplete results show Kingsport pharmacist Diana Harshbarger leading 15 other candidates to win her party’s nomination for Tennessee’s 1st District seat.
Harshbarger collected a total of 17,162 uncertified votes in the 12 counties that make up a part of the congressional district to top veteran state Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, who came in second in the day’s polling with 14,947 votes.
State Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, placed third in the GOP race with 14,907 votes. Dr. Josh Gapp, a Knoxville dermatologist, finished fourth with 13,132 votes.
Federal campaign finance reports show Harshbarger loaned her campaign more than $1.3 million. She has also reported spending around $1.1 million.
Harshbarger will will face Democratic candidate Blair Walsingham, an Air Force veteran who had no trouble in winning her primary, in the Nov. 3 general election. The Hawkins County resident was leading with an uncertified total of 5,745 votes at press time Thursday night.
Walsingham was one of three Democrats appearing on the ballot for the seat, but was the only candidate who actively campaigned for the nomination.
Coming in second place in the Democratic race was Chris Rowe, Elizabethton, with 3,704 votes, and Larry J. Smith, Greeneville, placed last with 1,510 votes.
Other uncertified totals from race show former Johnson City Mayor Steve Darden with 11,555 votes, followed by former Kingsport Mayor John Clark with 8,741 votes and state Rep David Hawk, R-Greeneville, with 4,397 votes.
Tennessee’s 1st District in Congress covers all of Carter, Cocke, Greene, Hamblen, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi and Washington counties and parts of Jefferson and Sevier counties.
The district has historically been strongly Republican, with Robert Love Taylor being the last Democrat elected to the seat in 1879.
The race for the congressional seat began in January when incumbent Phil Roe announced he would not seek a seventh term. The retired physician was first elected to Congress in 2007.
“I congratulate Diana Harshbarger on a hard-fought victory in the primary and pledge to do everything I can to help ensure she wins the general election in November,” Roe said in a statement.
Independent candidate Steve Holder, Johnson City, will join the winners of Thursday’s Republican and Democratic primaries on the November general election ballot.