Trump-backed Hagerty wins Tennessee GOP Senate primary

Bill Hagerty clinched the Republican Senate nomination in Tennessee on Thursday to replace retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander (R), handing a win to President Trump, 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 Cruz (R-Texas) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) threw their support behind Sethi. 

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.

Tags 2020 elections Bill Hagerty Donald Trump Lamar Alexander Manny Sethi Rand Paul Republican Primary Ted Cruz Tennessee senate race
See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video