U.S. Senate campaign

Sethi in new TV ad: “Let ’em try to call me racist.”

Republican Senate candidate Manny Sethi has launched his first TV ad. His campaign says the ad will run statewide — and in Washington, D.C.

The spot features Sethi’s mother speaking about the seven-year process she and her husband went through to immigrate to the United States from India.  “Others come here illegally, take all the benefits and then if you dare say that’s wrong – you are called racist?” she says.

The candidate warns about an “illegal immigrant invasion” if Republicans don’t win next year.

“That’s why I’m running,” he says. “Let ‘em try to call me a racist.”

Here’s the script of the ad:

Dr. Chander Sethi: My husband and I were young doctors in India who wanted to come to America. We followed the law and immigrated legally. It took seven years. We were country doctors in Tennessee for twenty-five years. I delivered thousands of babies, worked hard to be a good citizen. So why do others come here illegally, take all the benefits and then if you dare say that’s wrong – you are called racist? My son, Manny, is a Tennessee surgeon, he’s now running for U.S. Senate. And he knows this is wrong.

Dr. Manny Sethi: We’re gonna have an illegal immigrant invasion if Republicans don’t win in 2020. Democrats are going to give this country away. That’s why I’m running. Let ‘em try to call me a racist.

Democrat James Mackler’s campaign quickly seized on the Sethi ad in a fundraising email:

Unbelievable — one of James’ opponents just launched a despicable ad. Here’s what he says:

“We’re going to have an illegal immigrant invasion if Republicans don’t win in 2020… Let ‘em call me a racist.” – Manny Sethi

DENOUNCE THE AD BY CONTRIBUTING TO JAMES’ CAMPAIGN

James’ opponent is a first generation American who wants to shut the door behind him, and he’s fueling his campaign with fear tactics, divisive rhetoric, and extreme views.

Hagerty raises $1.9M for Senate bid, Sethi adds $839K

Bill Hagerty attends the Tennessee Republican Party’s Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15, 2019. At right is U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood). (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty raised $1.9 million for the Senate bid in the final three week’s of the reporting period, the campaign announced Thursday. Rival Republican canddiate Manny Sethi reported $329,000 in contributions, plus a $500,000 loan from himself.

“Chrissy and I are deeply humbled by the support our campaign has earned so far,” Hagerty said in a statement. “I’m ready to fight for your family in the U.S. Senate, and this support is essential as we work to share my conservative vision for our state and our country. We will continue to talk with Tennesseans about how I can best serve them in the Senate and fight to pass President Trump’s agenda.”

The Hagerty campaign said it spent just $20,000 in the quarter.

Sethi, a Vanderbilt surgeon, raised $542,000 in the previous period and loaned his campaign another $1 million. All of Hargerty’s contributions this quarter come from outside donors.

Sethi names 174 ‘grassroots supporters’ for Senate bid

Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi is releasing a list of “grassroots support” in all 95 counties in his bid for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.

“I am so honored to have support in every corner of Tennessee,” Sethi said in a release. “From Mountain City to Memphis, and Turtletown to Tiptonville, these grassroots leaders are eager to elect a conservative outsider to the United States Senate. I look forward to adding to this list in the coming months as we work towards victory next August.”

The list includes state Reps. Dan Howell (R-Cleveland) and Kelly Keisling (R-Byrdstown), as well as former state Rep. Tony Shipley (R-Kingsport). Also represented is Rebecca Griffey, the wife of freshman state Rep. Bruce Griffey (R-Paris), who has been in the news lately. She is one of 12 members of the state Republican Party’s executive committee endorsing Sethi.

“Conservatives from across the state are hungry for a fresh voice to take on the Washington establishment and support our president,” said “It is a remarkable accomplishment for a campaign to have this level of broad grassroots support this early in a campaign,” said Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer, Dr. Manny’s campaign manager. “It’s clear that Dr. Manny is the choice of Tennessee conservatives.”

Here’s the list broken down by county:

ANDERSON:
State Executive Committeewoman Amy Jones

BEDFORD:
Reverend Jeff Heard

BENTON:
James Peach

BLEDSOE:
Robert Standefer

BLOUNT:
Sharon Earley

BRADLEY:
Jonathan Cantrell
Sarah Cantrell
State Representative Dan Howell

CAMPBELL:
Les Barnaby

CANNON:
Denise Caffey
Shirley Boren

CARROLL:
Colonel Jim Harding

CARTER:
Lynn Richardson

CHEATHAM:
Linda Klingmann

CHESTER:
Sam Boyd

CLAIBORNE:
Daniel Chauncey

CLAY:
Bev Young

COCKE:
Joan Fine
Rama Brunswick

COFFEE:
Benny Jones
Dow Jones
John Roberts

CROCKETT:
Ruste Via

CUMBERLAND:
State Executive Committeewoman Barbara Gregson
Steve Frank

DAVIDSON:
David Birdsong
Dr. Ming Wang
Duane Dominey
Neil B. Chaffin
Reverend Louie Johnston Jr.
Rick Williams
Scooter Clippard
State Executive Committeeman Robert Duvall
Tootie Haskins

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Sethi, Hagerty ramp up fundraising before quarterly deadline

Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi and former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty have ramped up their fundraising activity in advance of the end of the of the third quarter on Monday.

Sethi held fundraisers in Chattanooga, Nashville, and Memphis. Event
hosts include Fred Decosimo, the former campaign treasurer for Bill Lee’s gubernatorial campaign, former HCA Tristar President Larry Kloess, healthcare entrepreneur Bill West, developer Jim Sattler, and wealth management adviser Frank Bumstead.

Hagerty has events being hosted at the Nashville homes of Barry Stowe, the former CEO of Prudential’s North American operations, state Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bobby Rolfe, lobbyist Dale Allen, and Blair Wilson, the brother of state Comptroller Justin Wilson. Two of the events will be held after the current quarter ends, but all checks are supposed to be received by Sept. 30.

Here is the Hagerty invite (home addresses have been deleted):

Ambassador Bill Hagerty has announced his bid for U.S. Senate and we want you to join Team Hagerty. Please see below for a personal invitation to join Bill and be part of his campaign launch. There are four opportunities to attend a kick-off reception over the next few weeks. Details are below or click here for an invitation. Please reply and let us know of your support. – Kim

Kim Kaegi

Please select a date and location most convenient for you.
* All events 5:30 – 7:00 pm *
Limited capacity for each reception to allow for more one-on-one engagement.

Thursday, September 26
Sherri & Barry Stowe

Monday, September 30
Kathy & Bobby Rolfe

Thursday, October 3
Linde & Blair Wilson

Wednesday, October 9
Julie & Dale Allen

$11,200 ~ Sponsor
$5,600 ~ Host
$2,800 ~ Attend

To make your reservation & contribute: TeamHagerty/donate
All contributions encouraged to be made prior to 9.30.19

Here are the invites for the Sethi events:

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Sethi blasts Romney (and, by extension Hagerty) over refusal to endorse Trump

Republican surgeon Manny Sethi in a fundraising email blasts U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney for saying he won’t endorse President Donald Trump in next year’s election. Romney, of course, is a longtime friend and mentor to former Ambassador Bill Hagerty, who joined the Senate race last week. Sethi doesn’t mention Hagerty by name in the email blast, but points out that voters will have a choice between the “conservative outsider” and the “political establishment.”

Trump has endorsed Hagerty in the race. And Hagerty has left little opportunity unseized to sing the praises of the president. Tennessee Republicans have never quite warmed to Romney, who finished third in the state’s Republican presidential primary in 2008 (behind Mike Huckabee and John McCain) and second to Rick Santorum in 2012.

Here’s the full Sethi email:

From the beginning I have said that Tennesseans will have a choice between a conservative outsider, and the political establishment.

Romney himself came out in support of my opponent. One political insider supporting another. But, you know who Senator Mitt Romney won’t endorse? Our President.

Just last week, Mitt Romney came out and said he will not endorse President Donald Trump for re-election. Wow. This is the same guy that supported a regressive carbon tax, is the father of Obamacare, and did not want to reduce capital gains taxes. And now he refuses to endorse President Trump.

I personally support and endorse President Trump, 100%. He’s doing a great job curbing illegal immigration, defeating ISIS, and delivering tax breaks to the entire country.  He needs a second term to accomplish even more.

Send me to Washington to work with President Trump to make that happen. Let me take on the DC establishment and career politicians who won’t stand with our President.

 

Sethi on Hagerty’s entry into Senate race: It’s on.

Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi in a fundraising email welcomes former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty to the U.S. Senate race, casting himself as the “conservative outsider” versus the “consummate insider.”

The race is now set, and the choice is all the more clear: a political insider, close friend of Mitt Romney, and the choice of the professional political class versus the true conservative outsider who has lived the American Dream in Tennessee.

It’s the consummate insider, versus the conservative outsider.

Like President Trump, I’m a conservative outsider, taking on the establishment, but I can’t do it alone.

The challenge for Sethi will be to try to somehow drive a wedge between Hagerty and his endorsement from Trump without alienating the president’s supporters in the Republican primary.

Blackburn to stay neutral in GOP primary for U.S. Senate

Republican Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn speaks at a rally in Franklin on Oct. 17, 2018. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

First-year U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn plans to stay on the sidelines of the Republican primary to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Speaking to The Tennessee Journal before Bill Hagerty joined the race, Blackburn said she expected the former U.S. ambassador to Japan to be “a fabulous candidate” if he got in. Also running for the GOP nomination is Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi.

Blackburn noted Hagerty has the benefit of President Donald Trump’s endorsement.

“As the president said when he kind of outed him,  he will have the president’s full support,” Blackburn said. “We will stay out of the primary and let the voters have their say and looking forward to supporting the Republican who’s going to be the next U.S. Senator from Tennessee.”

Sethi steps down from nonprofit to focus on Senate race

Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi is stepping down as head of Healthy Tennessee while concentrating on his bid for the U.S. Senate. Sethi’s wife, Maya, will assume his former duties as president and CEO of the organization, which provides free health fairs and organizes symposiums and candidate forums.

Sethi is the only major Republican in the race to succeed retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander so far. Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty is expected to formally enter the the race soon.

Here’s the release from the Sethi campaign:

Nashville, TN — Dr. Manny Sethi, co-founder of Healthy Tennessee and Nashville orthopedic trauma surgeon, announced today that he is stepping down as President and CEO of Healthy Tennessee. Maya Sethi, co-founder of Healthy Tennessee, will assume the duties of President and CEO.

“When Maya and I founded Healthy Tennessee, we did it because of our passion for the health of our fellow Tennesseans. Ten years later that passion still drives both of us, and while I’m focused on meeting folks around our state as I seek public office, Healthy Tennessee is in great hands with my wife, Maya, While I will not be in a leadership role for the coming months I will continue to be involved on the board and joining together with our volunteers across the state to care for patients,” stated Dr. Manny.

Healthy Tennessee has provided free health fairs, educational opportunities, and symposiums to thousands of Tennesseans in dozens of locations over the last decade. Several health care events are in the planning stages, including a statewide summit on the opioid crisis on October 7. Healthy Tennessee held a similar event in 2018 with Governor Bill Lee, Senator Marsha Blackburn, former Mayor Karl Dean and former Governor Phil Bredesen as a few of the speakers.

“I look forward to taking over as President and CEO of Healthy Tennessee so that we can continue to create more awareness about better health lifestyles in our state. We’ve experienced so much success at every level in these communities and strongly believe that our mission has just begun,” Maya Sethi said. “Healthy Tennessee will diligently work to ensure our boots on the ground operation continues.”

Maya Sethi is a litigation attorney with almost 15 years of experience. Prior to her current role as General Counsel for Rocketship Education, a national non-profit charter school management organization, she practiced white collar defense and commercial litigation. Maya also has practiced in the litigation department at HCA.

She is currently the President of the board of Tennessee Voices for Victims and serves on the board of Children’s House Montessori.

Maya and Manny Sethi live in Nashville where they are raising their two children.

Woodson decides against U.S. Senate bid

As recently as last week, former state Sen. Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville) was still mulling a bid for the U.S. Senate. No longer, The Tennessean’s Natalie Allison reports.

“I have been humbled and deeply honored by the recent and generous encouragement I have received to seek the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate,” Woodson said.

Woodson, who ran the education think tank SCORE after leaving office, said she and her husband, Bill, had “prayed about this season for our family and our country and how we might best serve,” before deciding against a bid.

Woodson first began contemplating a bid to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) before President Donald Trump declared his support for Ambassador Bill Hagerty in a tweet. Hagerty made his first public appearance on Friday since winding down his diplomatic responsibilities in East Asia, but has yet to formally enter the race.

Nashville surgeon Manny Sethi announced his candidacy in June.

 

Hagerty makes first public appearance since return from Japan

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty made his first public appearance since returning from Japan on Friday evening at state Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson’s annual barbecue fundraiser in Franklin.

Afterward, Hagerty sat down to discuss his plans regarding the U.S. Senate race with The Tennessee Journal and The Tennessean. 

Here is a transcript of the interview:

Q: What are your plans?

You know, first things first. I just wrapped up a tremendous stint as the U.S ambassador to Japan, and as I said out there, there’s no greater honor than to serve your nation in a position like this and being the president’s representative in a country that’s as large as Japan. The economy is the second-largest free market in the world there, and we have such tremendous intertwined relationships. We’ve got more military based in Japan than any other country, anyplace outside the United States.

It’s a great relationship, a strong relationship, one that’s very important to the president and one that’s important to all of us. So, a great experience, and a wonderful experience for my family, too. We had a terrific two or three-year experience there.

But we’re very happy to be back home now. We have new horizons ahead of us. We’re working on that right now. And I’ll be able to talk very soon about what we’re going to do.

Q: The president sort of let the cat out of the bag, didn’t he? Is it a done deal?

I’m very honored by the president’s tweet. And I just need to put some componentry in place before I can really address what that tweet was about. But I was very honored to be recognized.

Q: As of when are you officially no longer in the diplomatic service?

I’m just an unemployed citizen right now.

Q: After the president’s tweet, you put in your paperwork. But then maybe there were extenuating circumstances that the president wanted you to stick around. Can you talk about any of that?

Actually, not really. I got back home as soon as I reasonably could. We’re got a lot of important things going in the region. And I’ve been involved in a lot of that. We have some important things happening right now in Japan, so I think I’ve got everything in a good place. I’ve got a great team on the ground right now. All of their work is planned out. They know what they need to be doing. And the folks at the State Department are fulling engaged, as is the White House. So I don’t think they’re going to miss me.

Q: Coming out of the world of diplomacy, where you have to be careful and measured about what you say, how do you go about changing your mindset to domestic politics and campaigns?

I understand the question, but a lot of what I worked on has serious implications back home. Like Sen. Blackburn mentioned, the work I was doing on trade was so heavily focused on ag. Our farmers are bearing the brunt of our disputes with China. China has retaliated against American farmers.

Japan is a huge market for us, and we need to make sure Japan is doing as much as they possibly can to support our farmers right now, because Japan benefits immensely from our standing up to China. They suffer just like we do, from property theft and competing with state-owned enterprises, that type of thing. They are also in the neighborhood where islands are being militarized and a lot of bad things potentially could happen out there. What’s happening to the north and to the west of Japan is a tough neighborhood, and we’re their most important ally in all of this. A lot of that has an impact back here at home.

I’d say the next steps that I take will get me back re-engaged in Tennessee. I’ve been gone a couple years, and I plan to spend a lot of time going from one end of the state to the other, talking to people to hear from them what the issues are, and how things I saw over there are affecting things back home, and think about maybe if there’s a way I can help.

I’m glad to be back.