Senate seat battle: Bill Hagerty vs. Manny Sethi heats up

Talk of the Town

Republican challengers in the August primary election have faced off in a name-calling duel for the opportunity to run against the Democrat and hold the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by long-time Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Both campaigns have relied heavily on ads on radio, television and social media.

Haggerty’s ads called upon Donald Trump Jr., who stated, “Bill stood with my father and my father stands with him,” to proclaim the endorsement by President Donald Trump. However, as Dr. Manny Sethi’s ads have made noticeable inroads into Hagerty’s lead in the polls, Hagerty’s latest ads have turned negative.

By the standards of conventional wisdom, the endorsement by a presidential candidate should have silenced all other candidates. However, since Sethi began his campaign he seems to be getting most of the attention from the media.

With the beginning of early voting and the unrest in the nation due to the COVID-19 virus, daily protests, and the aftermath of the state of Tennessee being locked down, most Tennesseans know that anything could happen.

Hagerty, who has served in several capacities in the Trump administration including as ambassador to Japan, is married and has four children.

Sethi, an orthopedic surgeon living in Nashville, is married and has two children.

According to their websites both candidates support these issues: standing with President Trump, growing Tennessee’s economy, defending the Constitution, cutting taxes, supporting the Second Amendment, protecting the right to life, supporting law enforcement, stopping illegal immigration, putting patients first, ending the opiod epidemic, updating infrastructure, building a wall, fighting for America’s energy independence, supporting farmers, balancing the national budget, reducing national debt and cutting spending, educating our next generation, standing up against Communist China, stopping the corona virus, confirming constitutional judges, supporting our military, and much more.

When answering the question of why he is running, Sethi turns to his faith: “Matthew 9:13 tells us, ‘The harvest is plenty but the workers are few.’ My faith is everything to me. It’s what guides me; it’s who I am. It’s why I became a doctor. It’s why I do what I do.”

Hagerty says he is running, “to strengthen our economy, bring more jobs to our communities, stop illegal immigration, defend our Second Amendment rights, protect the unborn, help build the wall and stand for our law enforcement officers, our military and our veterans.”

As early voting opened on July 17, poll numbers had Hagerty leading by plus-15 points. Both candidates have gone negative, with Sethi’s ads attempting to label Hagerty as “a Romney guy who will team up against President Trump if sent to the Senate.”

Hagerty’s ads are attempting to label Sethi as “Massachusetts Manny,” claiming incorrectly that the orthopedic surgeon was in support of Obamacare. Hagerty’s website has used Photoshop to post what Sethi has called “false and incorrect photographs” showing the doctor standing beside Obama.

Sethi recently received the endorsement of Mark Levin, attorney, writer, and radio and television host. Levin said he thinks a more-careful vetting of Hagerty may have demonstrated Hagerty’s ties to Romney.

Levin said on his radio program on Friday, July 17, “I am going to break with the president and support Dr. Sethi, I fear if Hagerty becomes a U.S. senator, he may team up with Sen. Romney and work against President Trump.”

James Mackler, a veteran who served in Iraq, is the heir apparent on the Democrat side. He says he is running to “restore respect, honesty, and integrity in Washington.”

Will the ol’ boy, moderate wing of the GOP choose the man who claims to be for Team Trump or will the “Tea Party conservative, man of faith” capture the opportunity to run on Nov. 3?

Can the Democrat challenger woo enough voters away from those who may have been wounded in the Primary election in August to capture the U.S. Senate seat in November?