Ted Cruz endorses Sethi, Blackburn backs Hagerty

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi speaks at a campaign event in Clarksville on Feb. 4, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, the runner-up to Donald Trump in the Tennessee’s 2016 presidential primary, is endorsing Manny Sethi in the Republican U.S. Senate primary. Trump, of course, has endorsed rival candidate Bill Hagerty.

Cruz’s endorsement of Sethi follows a nod by another 2016 presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky.

“Primaries are a time for choosing,” Cruz said in a statement. “Too many times the Washington swamp tries to trick voters into choosing their preferred candidate.”

Trump carried 39% of the vote in Tennessee’s Republican presidential primary in 2016, while Cruz won 25%. The third-place finisher was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who received 21%.

UPDATE: U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood) formally endorsed Hagerty on Wednesday afternoon.

“I fully support Bill Hagerty for the United States Senate, because I need a true Tennessee conservative to stand with me to protect our Tennessee values,” Blackburn said in a statement.

Paul campaigned with Sethi in Murfreesboro over the weekend, while U.S. Tom Cotton of Arkansas is coming to Middle Tennessee on behalf of Hagerty this week.

“Bill is a strong conservative leader and a trusted friend to President Trump. We need Bill in the U.S. Senate,” Cotton said in a Hagerty release.

(The Cruz announcement on Sethi follows.)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Republican Senate candidate and conservative outsider Dr. Manny Sethi was endorsed today by Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Senator Cruz released the following statement:

Primaries are a time for choosing. Too many times the Washington swamp tries to trick voters into choosing their preferred candidate.

We need conservative fighters in the US Senate that will stand up for our values and that is why I’m endorsing Dr. Manny Sethi for United States Senate. 

Dr. Manny is a pro-life doctor who will fight to finally repeal Obamacare, defend the 2nd Amendment, and help get our economy moving again.

There’s a reason the Establishment’s throwing everything they’ve got at Dr. Manny these final days—he’s winning. I am urging Tennessee conservatives to stand up to the attacks, join me, and stand with Manny Sethi.

“I’m so honored to have the support of Senator Ted Cruz.” said Dr. Manny. “Along with conservative leaders like Senator Paul, Senator Jim DeMint, Mark Levin, Jeri Thompson, and so many others. It’s clear why the Establishment is attacking us – they’re afraid of conservatives winning.”

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