JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) – Candidates for Tennessee’s U.S. Senate Seat are getting backing from some big-name politicians. The front runners in the race for Senator Lamar Alexander’s seat include Bill Hagerty and Dr. Manny Sethi who have been battling it out since campaigning began.
Hagerty received President Donald Trump’s endorsement as well as an endorsement from Senator Marsha Blackburn, whereas Dr. Sethi received backing from Texas Senator Ted Cruz on Friday morning.
Cruz and Sethi paid a visit to voters in Jonesborough early Friday morning for a campaign rally, urging voters to head to the polls and cast their ballots for Dr. Sethi.
Sethi and Cruz both spoke at the event, with Cruz touching on a number of topics, not solely voicing his support for the U.S. Senate hopeful. Upon taking center stage, Cruz spoke about the protests taking place across the nation as well as his support for law enforcement on top of the calls to end the violence.
In an interview following the event, News Channel 11 asked Senator Cruz his thoughts on a second stimulus package and the extension of unemployment benefits, another issue pressing the nation, currently.
He said it’s time for Americans to get back to work and time for the nation’s economy to get back on track. “We ought to be passing legislation focused on small businesses, on lifting taxes, on repealing job-killing regulations and helping the small businesses that are trying to open up right now, helping them hire people back,” said Senator Cruz.
Dr. Sethi expressed his gratitude for the senator’s support and even drew some similarities between him and Cruz.
“2012 he took on the Republican establishment in Texas because people wanted a Christian conservative outsider just like they do right now in Tennessee. The time has come, we don’t need any more Washington insiders, we need people who come from outside of government,” said Sethi.
Dr. Sethi also felt similarly about the extension of unemployment benefits and said we need to stop handing out money while at the same time, drawing criticisms to the CARES Act.
“The vast majority of the money ended up in special interest, it didn’t get to the small business owners of Tennessee, the people I care about, the people where I grew up in Coffee County, and that’s who I care about,” said Sethi.
When asked why he chose Dr. Sethi over Hagerty, Cruz said it was a clear choice to back someone with Christian, conservative values who would take that mentality all the way to Washington.
“There are too many Republicans in Washington that just blow with the wind and won’t stand up and fight. The reason I’m here supporting Dr. Manny is we need a strong conservative who will fight, who knows, who will work hard, and stand and fight for the people of East Tennessee,” said Cruz.
Senator Cruz trusts that Dr. Sethi is the best man for the job. “All you have to do is watch the reaction of the lobbyists in Washington right now as they’re pounding attack ads because they don’t want a senator who doesn’t work for them,” said Cruz.
Sethi’s opponent, Bill Hagerty– who maintains the President’s endorsement, has approved ads paid for by his team attacking Sethi. On Friday, Dr. Sethi addressed the content shown in the ads regarding his thoughts on “Obamacare” and rumors of him applying for a job under the Obama Administration.
Dr. Sethi denied all claims made in the ad and said he will continue to run a clean campaign. “We’re winning and my opponent knows this and just spreading lies is an unfortunate action on the campaign,” said Sethi.
Early voting is open now with Election Day set for August 6th.