U.S. Senate candidate Bill Hagerty announced Thursday he raised $1.9 million in his first three weeks since entering the race as a candidate.
Hagerty launched his campaign for Lamar Alexander’s Senate seat on Sept. 9, giving him just 22 days in the third quarter.
Hagerty said in a press release he decided to run after he “saw the threat to Tennessee and our country from the Democrats’ socialist agenda,” according to a story by The Tennessee Star.
“We must stand up to radical liberals like The Squad and their liberal socialist agenda that would deeply damage the America we know and love,” Hagerty said when announcing his run.
In one YouTube video, Hagerty presented his conservative values and Trump’s endorsement.
Hagerty resigned as ambassador to Japan in July to prepare for his campaign, The Star reported. Hagerty was the 30th Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Japan and was sworn in on July 27, 2017.
“Chrissy and I are deeply humbled by the support our campaign has earned so far,” said Hagerty in a statement. “I’m ready to fight for your family in the U.S. Senate, and this support is essential as we work to share my conservative vision for our state and our country. We will continue to talk with Tennesseans about how I can best serve them in the Senate and fight to pass President Trump’s agenda.”
In July, President Donald Trump endorsed Hagerty in a tweet, saying, “Tennessee loving Bill Hagerty, who was my Tennessee Victoy (sic) Chair and is now the very outstanding Ambassador to Japan, will be running for the U.S. Senate. He is strong on crime, borders & our 2nd A. Loves our Military & our Vets. Has my Complete & Total Endorsement!”
Tennessee loving Bill Hagerty, who was my Tennessee Victoy Chair and is now the very outstanding Ambassador to Japan, will be running for the U.S. Senate. He is strong on crime, borders & our 2nd A. Loves our Military & our Vets. Has my Complete & Total Endorsement!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 12, 2019
Hagerty’s ties to the Trump administration made him one powerful enemy in Hawaii, of all places.
U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) was one of only 12 Democrats to vote against Hagerty’s appointment as ambassador to Japan, the Honolulu Civil Beat reported. Her colleague, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) voted for Hagerty; normally, the two vote the same.
Hawaii and Japan have close cultural and economic ties, so the “no” vote drew attention. The story said Hirono had objected to Hagerty having served as Trump’s director of presidential appointments early in the administration. A spokesperson for Hirono said she voted no because she believes many of Trump’s nominees were “underqualified,” and Hagerty had a role in their nominations. Also, Hirono’s family emigrated to Hawaii from Japan.
Five left-wing Democratic presidential candidates voted in opposition of Hagerty as ambassador during the 86-12 decision in July 2017: Cory Booker (NJ); Kamala Harris (CA); Kirsten Gillibrand (NY); Bernie Sanders (VT); and Elizabeth Warren (MA).
Even U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), no friend of the president, supported Hagerty’s appointment as ambassador to Japan with a “yes” vote.
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Jason M. Reynolds has more than 20 years’ experience as a journalist at outlets of all sizes.