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New Member: Kustoff Nets Open Seat in Tennessee’s 8th District

Succeeds retiring GOP Rep. Stephen Fincher

David Kustoff is the congressman-elect in Tennessee's 8th District. (Courtesy of the Kustoff campaign)
David Kustoff is the congressman-elect in Tennessee's 8th District. (Courtesy of the Kustoff campaign)

Former U.S. Attorney David Kustoff will succeed retiring Republican Rep. Stephen Fincher in Tennessee’s 8th District, The Associated Press projects.

Kustoff led Democratic challenger Rickey Hobson 65 percent to 27 percent with 6 percent of precincts reporting.

Tennessee’s 8th occupies the western part of the state, excluding most of the Memphis area. It borders Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi and Missouri.

[Election Results 2016]

Coming into Election Day, the Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report/Roll Call rated the race Safe Republican.

In 2014, Fincher won the district with 70.8 percent of the vote.

The crowded Republican primary in August had 13 hopefuls. Kustoff finished first with more than 27 percent of the vote.

Once the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee, Kustoff lists among his accomplishments the conviction of several state legislators and other local officials, including then Democrat state Sen. John N. Ford, the brother of former Rep. Harold E. Ford Sr. and uncle of former Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., for bribery in a sting known as Operation Tennessee Waltz.

Kustoff puts law and order high on his congressional priority list, along with national security and economic development, calling those issues a reflection of constituents’ concerns. He thinks his work as U.S. attorney offers lessons for the nation.

Kustoff wants to secure the borders before tackling the rest of the immigration issue. He says the border problem is a manpower issue, and he distinguished himself from the Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, by saying it wouldn’t be solved by building a wall.  He adds that Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as other law enforcement bodies need tools to enforce current laws.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter.

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