Robby Starbuck

Robby Starbuck will run as a write-in candidate in the August Republican primary for the open 5th Congressional District, according to the Davidson County Election Commission.

Starbuck (whose real last name is Newsom) was kicked off the GOP ballot by state party leaders, who determined he was not a “bona fide” Republican because he had not voted in three of the past four Republican primaries in Tennessee. Starbuck, a music video producer and conservative media personality, moved from California to Franklin in 2019.

Multiple legal challenges to his exclusion came up short prior to his filing as a write-in candidate. Wednesday was the deadline to register as a write-in candidate for the Aug. 4 primary.

Starbuck has blamed GOP candidates Andy Ogles and Beth Harwell for supporting his removal. The state party also disallowed Morgan Ortagus, who was endorsed by former President Trump for the seat, though she has not filed legal challenges to the decision and has since backed another candidate, Kurt Winstead.

The new-look 5th District, formerly a Democratic stronghold mostly comprised of Davidson County, is now favorable to Republicans and includes parts of Davidson, Williamson, Wilson and other nearby counties. U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Nashville) decided not to run for reelection following redistricting.