GOP Rep. Diane Black lost her bid for Tennessee governor, and her House seat. She's not alone this year.

Rep. Diane Black.
(Image credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), the House Budget Committee chairwoman, gave up her seat to run for governor, a race she was favored to win. She didn't even make it to the finals. On Thursday, Black placed third in the Republican primary, losing badly to a business executive and political novice, Bill Lee. She's got company. Four other House Republicans seeking statewide office have also lost their bids, and their House seats, this year — Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer in Indiana, Rep. Raul Labrador in Idaho, and Rep. Evan Jenkins in West Virginia — and two other House Republicans, Mark Sanford (S.C.) and Robert Pittenger (N.C.), were unseated by challengers in their primaries.

"It's getting harder to be an ambitious House Republican these days," Axios notes, especially if, like Black, you don't get President Trump's explicit endorsement. But Trump's blessing in a business-pragmatic state like Tennessee is a decidedly mixed one, says Tara Golshan at Vox. And Black's campaign had the "politically fatal combination" of being both "overwhelmingly Trump-y" and perceived as running "a creature of Washington." This is actually a growing problem for Republican incumbents, Axios points out. "The last time every single Republican House member who ran for other offices (Senate or governor) won their primary was in 2000. All six became the nominee in their races, but all six ended up losing the general election to a Democrat."

That isn't so surprising, especially this year, Golshan argues. "The ruling party is usually disadvantaged in midterm elections, and after two years of more partisan drama and chaos in Congress than actual legislating, many of these lawmakers are going home with little to show for themselves and the party."

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Peter Weber

Peter Weber is a senior editor at, and has handled the editorial night shift since the website launched in 2008. A graduate of Northwestern University, Peter has worked at Facts on File and The New York Times Magazine. He speaks Spanish and Italian and plays bass and rhythm cello in an Austin rock band. Follow him on Twitter.