Ken Gross is fourth Republican to launch campaign for 2nd Congressional District

Ken Gross, a politically-active Knoxville business executive, has become the fourth Republican to declare himself a candidate to succeed retiring U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District.

His campaign slogan, Gross tells the News Sentinel: Make Congress great again.

“There’s too many divisions in the Republican (party),” he said. “We need to pull together and need to put statesmen back into politics and not get career politicians.”

…“I think the president is doing an outstanding job … we just need the Congress to start moving forward and be willing to move forward,” he said.

Gross said he is not an independently wealthy man and said he plans to run a “shoe-string budget” that relies on grassroots efforts to get him elected. He said Duncan has left “pretty good shoes to fill” in Washington and he hopes to model his constituent service off of how Duncan operates.

And Gross, who serves on the Tennessee Republican Party’s State Executive Committee, says his service as a Trump delegate to the GOP national convention last year is a plus in the district’s Republican electorate, though Gross’ appointment stirred a bit of a flap at the time, as the Nashville Post notes.

Though he promised to be a loyal Trump delegate, Gross had posted on Facebook the day before the Tennessee primary, “To my FB friends who claim to be Conservative Republicans, when you vote for Trump tomorrow, just know that you voted for a Liberal Democrat!!”

He later said the post was banter with friends. He also posted to Facebook in May 2016, as the Republican primary neared its conclusion, that it was “time for Senator Cruz and Governor Kasick [sic] to hang up the spurs and get behind Donald Trump!! Time to focus our energy on defeating the real enemy of democracy Democrat Hillary Clinton in November!!”

Gross is director of safety and risk management for renewable energy company Ameresco and a member of the the Tennessee Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s review commission.

Republicans announcing earlier are Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, Knoxville businessman Brad Fullington and state Rep. Jimmy Matlock of Lenoir City.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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