Roe cruises to sixth term in House

Hank Hayes • Nov 6, 2018 at 9:09 PM

U.S. Rep. Phil Roe cruised to an election victory Tuesday that will give him a sixth term in office serving Northeast Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District.

Roe, chairman of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs and a solid supporter of President Trump, defeated Democrat challenger Marty Olsen and independent Michael D. Salyer.

“I want to thank all the people who went out in huge numbers and voted,” Roe said in a phone interview. “This is the best turnout for a mid-term since I’ve been in the U.S. House. I can’t thank the people enough. ... How humbling it is to represent the 725,000 or so people I represent. ... The election says ... that Tennessee is a conservative state and we’re happy with the direction of the country.”

The Associated Press declared Roe the victor about an hour after the polls closed.

Roe, 73, said it was too soon to think about whether he will run for a seventh term.

When asked for his thoughts about the possibility Democrats could retake the U.S. House, Roe admitted he would lose his chairmanship of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs but he still would be the ranking GOP member on the panel.

“It doesn’t mean you don’t have influence,” Roe pointed out. “You have a lot of influence. That committee is bi-partisan. We work on veterans’ issues. ... If I’m not the chairman, we will show the same respect.”

Roe is a retired obstetrician/gynecologist, while Olsen is a practicing obstetrician/gynecologist.

A Democrat has not held the 1st Congressional District seat since Reconstruction.