U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty has left the Land of the Rising Sun to return to the Volunteer State in a likely run for Lamar Alexander’s Senate seat.
Hagerty tweeted, “Farewell Japan, and thank you for the incredible hospitality you have shown me and my family. These past two years have been the greatest of our lives.”
Farewell Japan, and thank you for the incredible hospitality you have shown me and my family. These past two years have been the greatest of our lives. 🇺🇸🤝🇯🇵 またお会いしましょう ! 👋🏼✨ https://t.co/j53xf4zODO
— ビル・ハガティ米国大使 (@USAmbJapan) July 22, 2019
Alexander (R-TN) announced in December that he would not run again for the Senate, The Tennessee Star reported.
President Donald Trump earlier this month endorsed Hagerty’s potential Senate bid, which likely would be announced after he leaves federal government service, The Star said.
Just a week ago, speculation was still running rampant on whether Hagerty actually would run for the Senate, the Nashville Post said, calling him the “hypothetical frontrunner.”
Ward Baker, who ran Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s 2018 campaign, is expected to run Hagerty’s campaign, Politico said. Baker is the former executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.
On a recent Tennessee Star Report, Club for Growth Chairman David McIntosh discussed a potential Hagerty candidacy with the hosts.
“He’s done a critical job over there without an ambassador of North Korea. He’s been a key diplomat in a very high-stakes negotiation with North Korea. So as a Tennessean, he would be a favorite one that people would like. You’ve got a lot of good options and it will be interesting to see how it all sorts out,” said McIntosh.
Hagerty was the 30th Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan and was sworn in on July 27, 2017, according to the embassy’s website.
His previous jobs included serving as director of presidential appointments for Trump’s transition team as well as founder and managing director of Hagerty Peterson & Company, a private equity investment firm. He was a co-founder of the committee that is bidding to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to Nashville.
U.S. Rep. David Kustoff (R-TN-08) and former state lawmaker Jamie Woodson are also considering a run for Alexander’s seat, UPI said.
– – –
Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.