Trump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary

Trump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary
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Bill Hagerty clinched the Republican Senate nomination in Tennessee on Thursday to replace retiring Sen. Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderPelosi urges early voting to counter GOP's high court gambit: 'There has to be a price to pay' Graham: GOP has votes to confirm Trump's Supreme Court nominee before the election The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Washington on edge amid SCOTUS vacancy MORE (R), handing a win to President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal prosecutor speaks out, says Barr 'has brought shame' on Justice Dept. Former Pence aide: White House staffers discussed Trump refusing to leave office Progressive group buys domain name of Trump's No. 1 Supreme Court pick MORE, who had endorsed Hagerty in the tough primary.

Hagerty, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Japan from 2017 until last year, garnered 52 percent of the vote by the time The Associated Press called the race. His main primary opponent, political newcomer Manny Sethi, trailed with 38 percent of the vote with 27 percent of precincts reporting.

The Republican primary battle in Tennessee pitted some of the country’s most prominent conservatives against one another. Trump backed Hagerty in the race, while Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCrenshaw looms large as Democrats look to flip Texas House seat SCOTUS confirmation in the last month of a close election? Ugly The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' MORE (R-Texas) and Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRon Paul hospitalized in Texas The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump previews SCOTUS nominee as 'totally brilliant' Rand Paul says he can't judge 'guilt or innocence' in Breonna Taylor case MORE (R-Ky.) threw their support behind Sethi. 

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Both Hagerty and Sethi embraced Trump on the campaign trail. But the race grew vicious in recent weeks, with both men hurling attacks at one another.

Sethi, for instance, worked to tie Hagerty to so-called political elites, pointing to his longtime ties in Republican political circles. Hagerty, meanwhile, sought to cast Sethi as insufficiently conservative, including accusing the political newcomer of applying to a job in the Obama administration. 

With the nomination shored up, Hagerty is widely expected to win the November election to succeed Alexander in the Senate. Republicans have held both Senate seats in Tennessee since 1994, and The Cook Political Report, a nonpartisan election handicapper, rates the race as “Solid” Republican.