Top Senate candidates respond to their race called the country’s ‘nastiest Republican primary’


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Is Tennessee’s Republican primary for U.S. Senate “the nastiest in the country” as the national publication POLITICO calls it?

It was a question for the two top GOP candidates today in midst of their negative ad blitz.

“William Francis Hagerty IV is not a regular guy. He is entitled, self-dealing. His friends in the ruling class are not like you and me,” said one ad for Manny Sethi that has been playing statewide.

“Trump conservatives can’t trust Manny Sethi. Sethi served on the board of the Massachusetts Medical Society, an organization that supported Obamacare,” said an ad getting similar airplay for Bill Hagerty.

The commercials are just a bit of the ad blitz from the two frontrunners in Tennessee’s Republican Senate primary. They are part of POLITICO’s “nastiest” pronouncement and so is Hagerty’s pronunciation of Sethi’s name while questioning his opponent’s conservative credentials.

During an early voting event on July 17, Hagerty repeatedly pronounced his main opponent’s name as “SED-dee” instead of “SEH-thee.”

While appearing on This Week with Bob Mueller on Thursday, Hagerty who served as the president’s U.S. Ambassador to Japan did not mention his opponent by name while repeating themes seen in the ads.

“We have a situation where you have a Democrat running in a Republican primary,” Hagerty told News 2’s Mueller. “You have someone defending Obamacare.”

At exactly the same time Thursday, Sethi who is a Vanderbilt trauma surgeon, held a town hall in a Nashville suburb where he tried to counter President Trump’s endorsement of Hagerty for the Republican Senate nomination.

“Now more than ever, we have got to support the president, got to have his back,” Sethi told the town hall event.

Like Hagerty, Sethi was asked about the race becoming the country’s “nastiest Republican primary” and he, too, returned to themes seen in ads.

“Yeah, I think it’s really unfortunate,” began Sethi. “It’s driven by my opponent and his millions of dollars of swamp money.”

As the primary approaches, those ads will continue to be everywhere with whatever the candidates want to say about each other.

As for issues they might face as a U.S. Senator, both the Republican candidates expressed skepticism at extending federal unemployment payments of $600 a week.

Bob Mueller’s entire interview with Hagerty can be seen Saturday at 6 p.m. on News 2.

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