JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Republican Senate candidate Bill Hagerty came to Johnson City on Monday with hopes of winning support.
Hagerty was in town to attend a meeting of the Washington County Republican Women at the Carnegie Hotel.
A new poll exclusive to News Channel 11 shows Hagerty leading the Republican primary in Northeast Tennessee with almost 36 percent. Dr. Manny Sethi polled second at 29 percent while almost 33 percent said they are are still undecided.
The poll found that those who strongly supporting President Trump also favored Hagerty.
“I’m certainly the only candidate with a complete and total endorsement by President Trump,” Hagerty told News Channel 11’s Josh Smith. “And Tennesseans love President Trump and the job he’s doing.”
An endorsement through a presidential tweet even before he declared he was a candidate was echoed last week in a second Trump tweet signaling his friend Bill Hagerty was still his pick to replace the retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander.
“President Trump wants to see me in the United States Senate,” Hagerty said. “He needs an ally now more than ever.”
Hagerty was President Trump’s ambassador to Japan. Before that, he served as the commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development under former Gov. Bill Haslam from 2011-2014. He was also the Tennessee Victory Chair during Trump’s 2016 Presidential campaign.
Regarding the poll showing him ahead of his Republican opponents, Hagerty said he isn’t focusing on polls at the moment.
“The focus should be getting us back to work,” he said.
Hagerty said he is doing that as part of the White House Economic Recovery Task Force where he is pushing for business deregulation.
About COVID-19, he believes China is responsible for the pandemic and wants the country held accountable.
“Regardless of whether is started in a wet market or a lab, China tried to cover it up,” Hagerty said.
As for his response to recent protests across the country and a push to take down Confederate monuments, Hagerty said: “These anarchists, these Marxists, are trying to put our nation on the path to socialism. As they try to erase our history. And impinge on our religion. What they’re trying to do is change America.”
Manny Sethi will be in the Tri-Cities later this week at a fundraiser hosted by supporters including the Mayors of Jonesborough and Washington County, Tennessee.
The primary election will be held August 6.