Hagerty raises $1.2M more in Tennessee bid for US Senate

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Trump visit

Bill Hagerty, who is running for U.S. Senate, and President Donald Trump shake hands as Trump visits Middle Tennessee to survey damage done by tornadoes.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Republican Bill Hagerty raised $1.2 million last quarter and for the first time tapped into his personal wealth in the contested primary for an open U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee, his campaign said Saturday.

The former U.S. ambassador to Japan headed into April with $5.6 million cash on hand, according to his campaign. His team would not disclose the amount he loaned himself in the race to replace retiring Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander.

Hagerty is the first candidate in the race to release campaign finance numbers from the quarter that included the initial weeks of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.

Officials across the world continue to implement strict rules limiting economic and social activity to prevent the virus's spread. For candidates, the situation has created uncertainty about how much money political donors can spare in the economic downturn and when in-person campaign events could be an option again, as Tennessee heads toward its August primary election.

Since Hagerty ended the previous quarter with $3 million in the bank, then raised $1.2 million in the most recent quarter and now has $5.6 million cash on hand, his personal loan appears to be above $1 million. His campaign's spending is another variable in that equation.

Detailed reports for the quarter from January through March aren't formally due for candidates until April 15.

Hagerty, from Nashville, entered the race in September. The private investment firm board member's main opponent so far has been Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi, who began running in June and already loaned his campaign $1.5 million before last quarter.

Hagerty has been quick to highlight the endorsement of President Donald Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. has campaigned for him in Tennessee. Sethi is also praising the president in his campaign.

Sethi has not yet reported his campaign finance numbers from last quarter. He raised about $500,000 from October through December, with almost $2 million cash left heading into January.

Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler, who has the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee's backing, had $402,500 cash left entering January.

Seventeen Republicans, six Democrats and 10 independents filed petitions for the Senate race by Thursday's candidate qualifying deadline in Tennessee.

Republicans have held both Tennessee seats in the Senate since 1994.

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