Tennessee candidates vying for U.S. Senate seat

Tennessee candidates vying for U.S. Senate seat

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A U.S. Senate race out of Tennessee is gaining national attention, and with COVID-19 restrictions, the campaign has looked very different.

Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander is retiring after holding a seat in the U.S. Senate since 2002.

Two candidates are vying to take his place.

With less than a month until Election Day, and no scheduled debates, the Bill Hagerty and Marquita Bradshaw campaigns are starting to pick up steam.

“We’ve been as busy as we can be. We’ve been on one end of the state to another,” said Bill Republican Bill Hagerty during a campaign stop in Knoxville.

The same can be said about Bradshaw.

“My name is Marquita Bradshaw. I’m a mom, caregiver and a server in the community,” said Bradshaw just before she boarded a plane in Memphis heading to campaign in east Tennessee earlier this week.

Both candidates are virtual political newcomers, making an effort to introduce themselves to voters.

“I’m a fourth generation Tennessean. I was raised in Sumter County. We had a small farm there," said Hagerty.

“I grew up down the street from a military landfill and the short of it is a lot of chemicals that were put there were made to kill people and plants very effectively," said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw, who grew up in South Memphis near a superfund site, made a name for herself as a grassroots environmental justice advocate.

Hagerty, a former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community development, served as U.S. Ambassador to Japan in the Trump administration.

Both taking different approaches to improving the state’s economy.

“They’ve got a lot of trust and faith in me because I’ve been a business man all my life. And when I served as economic development chief for the state of Tennessee, we did a complete turnaround in our economy going from one of the worst states in the nation in terms of employment,” said Hagerty.

“When you look at the best way to improve our state’s economy, have healthcare for everyone because we are going through a pandemic so we need everybody to stay healthy and safe and get through this pandemic alive,” said Bradshaw.

Bradshaw has already made history as the first black woman in Tennessee to run on a major ticket for U.S. Senator.

Her shocking primary win in August after being considerably outspent by her primary competitor has brought in a flood of endorsements including Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

But Hagerty is counting on his endorsement from the President, in a state that is traditionally gone in the win column for Republicans.

“We’re taking nothing for granted heading into the general election. November 3rd is going to be a very important day,” said Hagerty.

Bradshaw also pointed out that she is the first candidate running for US Senate to sign a Green New Deal pledge.

The Green New Deal is a plan for tackling climate change.

Hagerty called the Green New Deal a radical and expensive disaster.

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