Manny Sethi

American Conservative Union endorses Hagerty

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty attends a CPAC conference in Memphis on Oct. 27, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The American Conservative Union, the group known for putting on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), is endorsing Bill Hagerty in Tennessee’s U.S. Senate race.

Hagerty spoke at a regional CPAC meeting in Memphis in October 2019. Rival Republican candidate Manny Sethi was also part of the program at the event, though his speaking slot was pushed back to late in the afternoon to accommodate an appearance by My Pillow founder Michael Lindel.

The American Conservative Union in 2018 endorsed U.S. Rep. Diane Black (R-Gallatin) in her unsuccessful bid for the gubernatorial nomination.

Here is the release endorsing Hagerty:

Alexandria, VA – The American Conservative Union (ACU) today announced its endorsement of Bill Hagerty for election in Tennessee to the United States Senate.

“In Tennessee the race to become the next U.S. Senator has come down to a choice between two candidates with conservative policy positions, but for ACU the choice is clear. We know from personal experience the impact that Bill Hagerty has had advancing conservative successes,” said ACU Chairman Matt Schlapp. “Ambassador Hagerty served effectively under President Trump as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan, and in that role helped shape the aggressive approach that the United States has taken over the last few years holding China more accountable on trade, national security, and human rights. The Ambassador directly assisted our efforts on CPAC Japan and helps our efforts to combat communism in Asia. Ambassador Hagerty’s accomplished record is not just one of working overseas to advance conservatism, but also here at home. He led the Trump transition team and created the single most conservative cabinet in U.S. history. We have worked with Bill Hagerty for years and in that time we have seen him as an effective leader and we know that he can do the same in Congress. That’s why we are endorsing him to be Tennessee’s next Senator.”

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Hagerty’s latest ad remarkable for what it doesn’t include (hint: it’s that guy who endorsed him)

Former U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty has spent much of his Senate bid hammering home the point that he has been endorsed by President Donald Trump —  a fact that’s been featured prominently on campaign signs and in TV and radio ads. But not in his latest one-minute spot, titled “What Makes America Exceptional.”

The ad features Hagerty talking to the camera about growing up raising livestock and working on road crews when he was in college. He then discusses his time as state economic and community development commissioner and as U.S. ambassador to Japan.

“No one loves this nation more than I do,” Hagerty concludes. “I want that same opportunity for your children and grandchildren, just like I want them for mine. That’s why I’m running for United States Senate.”

On the face of it, it’s a fairly run-of-the-mill biographical ad, the sort one might expect to run early in a campaign to introduce a candidate to the voters. But this ad comes with just three days remaining before the primary election after weeks of attack ads slamming his main rival for the nomination, Vanderbilt surgeon Manny Sethi.

The last advertising push comes as Hagerty has tapped his line of credit by another $800,000 in recent days to bring his total debt to $3.3 million. Sethi has also gone back to his own checkbook, adding $300,000 to the $1.93 million he had previously loaned his campaign.

The transcript of Hagerty’s latest spot follows:

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Sethi, Hagerty support congressional term limits

U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi has signed a pledge to support term limits in Congress, joining rival Republican Bill Hagerty in backing the effort to allow senators no more than two six-year terms and hold representatives to three consecutive two-year terms.

A proposed constitutional amendment has been introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who was scheduled to campaigning with Sethi in West Tennessee on Monday.

Both candidates have also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

Here’s a release from U.S. Term Limits Monday about Sethi’s pledge:

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Term Limits (USTL), the leader in the non-partisan national movement to limit the terms of elected officials, praises 2020 U.S. Senate candidate from Tennessee, Manny Sethi, for signing the pledge for an amendment to term limit Congress.

U.S. Term Limits has the support of more than 70 pledge signers in Congress. USTL President Philip Blumel commented on Sethi’s pledge saying, “Manny’s strong support of term limits shows that there are individuals who are willing to put self-interest aside to follow the will of the people. America needs a Congress that will be served by citizen legislators, not career politicians.”

The U.S. Term Limits amendment pledge is provided to every announced candidate for federal office. It reads, “I pledge that as a member of Congress, I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit.”The U.S. Term Limits constitutional amendment has been introduced in both the U.S. Senate by Senator Ted Cruz (SJR1) and the U.S. House by Representative Francis Rooney (HJR20).

Blumel noted, “We have seen a dramatic increase in supporters wanting term limits on Congress. More than 82% of Americans have rejected the career politician model and want to replace it with citizen leadership. The way to achieve that goal is through congressional term limits.”

According to a 2018 nationwide poll on term limits conducted by McLaughlin & Associates, term limits enjoy wide bipartisan support. McLaughlin’s analysis states, “Support for term limits is broad and strong across all political, geographic and demographic groups. An overwhelming 82% of voters approve of a constitutional amendment that will place term limits on members of Congress.”

Blumel concluded, “America is in trouble. Our career politicians have let the people down. It is time to return control of our nation to the people. It is time for a constitutional amendment limiting congressional terms.”

The term limits amendment resolutions would require a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate, and ratification by 38 states, in order to become part of the U.S. Constitution.

Congressional term limits is the one bipartisan issue supported by both President Trump and former President Obama.

 

Politico: Tennessee’s Senate primary ‘nastiest’ in nation

Tennessee’s Republican primary for the U.S Senate between Bill Hagerty and Manny Sethi is the “nastiest” in the nation, according to a report by Politico

Here’s an excerpt:

Hagerty largely ignored Sethi most of the race — seemingly confident of his lead which his internal polls had at 17 points — until earlier this month, when he abruptly went on the offensive. His recent campaign speeches and interviews are chock-full of attack lines. His campaign has dubiously accused Sethi of donating money to a group “bankrolling these rioters” in an ad with a wounded veteran telling voters that Sethi can’t be trusted to defend the flag.

And Hagerty has been repeatedly mispronouncing Sethi’s name as “Set-ee” instead of “Seth-ee” a year into the race, even in response to reporter questions with the correct pronunciation. Hagerty told POLITICO it was inadvertent, and he didn’t know which pronunciation Sethi, the son of Indian immigrants, prefers.

“Bill Hagerty is Thurston Howell III without the charm,” said Jordan Gehrke, Sethi’s senior strategist, comparing Hagerty to the out-of-touch millionaire in the ’70s-era sitcom “Gilligan’s Island.” “He’s desperate. He should be.”

[…]

On mispronouncing Sethi’s last name on the stump, Hagerty says the slight is unintentional.

“I’m just not sure what his preferred pronunciation is, but there’s nothing underlying it,” Hagerty said.

Sethi spot features wife blasting Hagerty for attack over $50 donation

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi’s latest ad features his wife, Maya, criticizing rival candidate Bill Hagerty for attacking a $50 donation made to a Democratic congressional candidate a dozen years ago.

“Yep, 50 bucks,” she says in the spot. “Now, Bill Hagerty is attacking me to hurt my husband. But Hagerty gave Mitt Romney and Al Gore over $100,000.”

The donation has featured heavily in attacks by the Hagerty campaign and an independent PAC supporting the former ambassador’s bid. The money was given in Manny Sethi’s name through the online fundraising portal ActBlue.

Here’s a transcript of the new ad:

Twelve years ago, some friends called me for political donations. I sent $50. Yep, 50 bucks.

Now, Bill Hagerty is attacking me to hurt my husband. But Hagerty gave Mitt Romney and Al Gore over $100,000.

If you want a politician who will say and do anything to win, vote Bill Hagerty. For a conservative with integrity, please, vote for Manny.

I’m Manny Sethi, and I approve this message.

Hagerty-supporting PAC pushes back against Sethi’s effort to block ad

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

An outside PAC supporting Bill Hagerty’s bid for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination is pushing back against rival Manny Sethi’s efforts to get TV stations to drop its ad.

Sethis’s lawyers this week called the ad by the Standing with Conservatives PAC “knowingly dishonest” for suggesting a $50 donation to Democratic congressional candidate in 2008 was linked to  online contribution processor ActBlue’s later support for Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid.

“The ability to criticize a public figure’s actions, and to discuss matters of public importance, lies at the heart of the First Amendment, as courts have repeatedly recognized,” Karen Blackistonea lawyer for Standing with Conservatives, wrote to station managers.

“The Candidate denies supporting ActBlue and asserts that ActBlue does not conduct any advocacy. Per ActBlue’s website, ActBlue is more than just a credit card processor. It is dedicated to empowering democratic and progressive liberal campaigns build their movements,” Blackistone wrote “ActBlue exclusively permits certain groups to use its services that shares similar liberal, progressive values.”

The ads were still on the air of as late this week.

The full letter from Standing with Conservatives follows.

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Sethi says voters have choice: ‘Me or Mitt Romney’s guy’

U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi is out with a new ad responding to a barrage from rival Republican Bill Hagerty. While the spot seeks to paint Sethi as the victim of “all these crazy attacks,” the Vanderbilt surgeon also gets in his own barb at Hagerty.

“End of the day, it’s about who you believe: Me or Mitt Romney’s guy,” Sethi says in the ad. Here’s the whole thing:

Transcript:

All these crazy attack ads. Bill Hagerty can do that if he wants; that’s not me. You know why Hagerty’s doing this, right? Because we’re winning.

The truth: I hate Obamacare. Testified against it in front of the Senate. I’m a Christian–which is why I’m pro-life. And as a doctor, I know those are babies.

End of the day, it’s about who you believe: Me or Mitt Romney’s guy. I’d sure appreciate your vote.

I’m Manny Sethi, and I approve this message.

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.)

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Hagerty launches next round of attack ads on Sethi

U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty has another attack ad out on TV this week attacking rival Manny Sethi.

The narrator points out that Sethi, who is now a Vanderbilt surgeon, once served on the b0ard of the Massachusetts Medical Society, a group that later went on to support President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (thought the ad doesn’t take that time element into account). It also blasts Sethi for once applying for a prestigious White House Fellowship while Obama was president. (Hagerty was a White House fellow in 1991-1992 when George H. W. Bush was president.)

The ad also includes a video of Sethi saying it’s a “political statement” to call the Affordable Care Act “Obamacare.”

Sethi has pushed back against the attacks as being deceptive while lobbing his own broadsides against Hagerty for once donating to Al Gore’s presidential campaign and donating more than $100,000 to Utah Sen. Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns.

Stay tuned for more mud-slinging.

 

Sethi camp warns of legal action for airing attack ads it calls ‘knowingly dishonest’

Republican Senate candidate Manny Sethi’s camp is calling a new attack ad by a super PAC  ‘knowingly dishonest’ and his lawyers are warning TV stations not to air the spot.

Standing with Conservatives is running an ad attacking Sethi for a $50 donation he made through the ActBlue online donation processing site in 2008. The ad calls ActBlue a PAC that later supported Bernie Sanders’ presidential bid.

The Tennessean’s Natalie Allison has a copy of the ad here:

Sethi’s attorneys say the donation was made by the candidate’s wife to a family friend. They argue ActBlue is being mischaracterized as a PAC.

Standing with Conservatives has spent $512,500 on independent expenditures opposing Sethi so far. The PAC was formed on July 3 and there is no public information available about who is behind it.

The full letter from the Sethi campaign follows:

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