In Senate race, Sethi attacks Hagerty as ‘entitled’ for loan

Published 12:16 pm Friday, May 1, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
Associated Press
NASHVILLE (AP) — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi has released a digital ad attacking his Tennessee primary election foe Bill Hagerty for taking out a $2.5 million bank loan for his campaign, calling him “entitled.”
The ad marks the first significant swing taken during the GOP primary in the race to replace Republican U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, who is retiring.
At the end of the March, Hagerty drew the $2.5 million loan from a $5 million approved line of credit with Pinnacle Bank at an interest rate of 3.75%, with Hagerty putting up $5 million worth of securities as collateral. Any balance must be repaid in three years.
Sethi has loaned his campaign $1.9 million in personal funds to date.
The ad compares Hagerty’s ability to secure the loan for his campaign with the struggle of small businesses trying to get loans amid the coronavirus pandemic. Small businesses have had particular trouble getting the forgivable loans available in the federal coronavirus stimulus package, a different type of loan than one made to a campaign.
Sethi’s team said the ad is about the different outcomes when Hagerty and small businesses have approached overwhelmed banks. Regardless, Sethi’s team has revealed a line of attack it could rely on against Hagerty in the August primary contest.
“He’s entitled, self-dealing. His friends in the ruling class aren’t like you or me,” the ad says of Hagerty, a previous member of Pinnacle’s board.
Hagerty’s campaign, meanwhile, declined to swipe back or mention Sethi by name. In response to the ad, campaign spokeswoman Abigail Sigler stuck to highlighting Hagerty’s endorsement by President Donald Trump, under whom he served as U.S. ambassador to Japan, and his appointment to Trump’s wide-spanning economic recovery task force.
Sethi likewise has praised Trump while campaigning.
Both of the Nashville men have personal wealth on their side — Hagerty sits on the board of a private investment firm and Sethi is a trauma surgeon. Likewise, Memphis radiologist George Flinn has added more than $1.5 million of his own money to his Republican Senate campaign through a personal loan.
Fifteen Republicans, five Democrats and nine independents have qualified for the Senate race. Nashville attorney and former Army helicopter pilot James Mackler, who is running on the Democratic side, criticized Hagerty, saying he received a “sweetheart” loan.
Republicans have held both Tennessee seats in the Senate since 1994.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox