Ted Cruz to campaign in Shelby County as Senate primary heats up

Ted Cruz to campaign in Shelby County as Senate primary heats up

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Texas Senator Ted Cruz will pay a visit to Shelby County on Monday to campaign for Tennessee U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi.

Sethi is running against former Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate.

The race has grown a lot more competitive and heated in recent weeks.

WMC political analyst Mike Nelson says Hagerty started as the odds-on favorite, picking up an early endorsement from President Donald Trump.

Hagerty also recently picked up an endorsement from Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn.

Despite the endorsements, Hagerty has struggled to put the race away.

"Somehow Dr. Manny Sethi, this Nashville surgeon, has managed to close the gap according to polls," said Nelson.

As the race became more competitive, the attack ads heated up.Each candidate claims their opponent is too liberal for Tennessee.

"POLITICO had a story this week saying the Tennessee Republican primary for U.S. Senate is the nastiest Republican primary in the country," said Nelson.

Sethi has received endorsements from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

Cruz will campaign with Sethi on Monday at the Grove at Red Oak Lake in Cordova at noon.

Nelson says the president's endorsement of Hagerty has not tipped the scales the way many people thought it would.

“The expectation for Republican primary voters in Tennessee that having the support of President Trump would be a game ender, never mind a game changer,” said Nelson

Nelson says despite the president's endorsement of Hagerty, both candidates are portraying themselves as the President's strongest supporter.

Whoever wins will face the Democratic nominee in November.

The winner of that race will replace retiring Tennessee Sen. Lamar Alexander.

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