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Republican Bill Hagerty Wins Election To U.S. Senate, Defeating Democrat Marquita Bradshaw


Republican Bill Hagerty will be the next U.S. senator from Tennessee, the Associated Press has called.

Hagerty was the heavy favorite to replace Lamar Alexander, who is retiring. Hagerty is a businessman, the state’s former Economic and Community Development Commissioner and the former U.S. ambassador to Japan. He was one of the first people President Trump endorsed for the Senate, and he’s promised to be a close ally of the president.

That appealed to some Tennesseans who were voting conservative up and down the ballot this year, like Primm Springs resident Martin Lynch.

“I voted for Bill Hagerty because I felt he’s more in line with the issues than the Democratic nominee,” he said. “I believe in the direction the Republican Party is leading the country at this time.”

On the other side, Marquita Bradshaw was the first Black woman to win the primary for a statewide office. The Memphis environmental activist was the surprise winner of the Democratic primary in August. She worked with the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, and she was also involved in local and statewide efforts of the environmental group The Sierra Club.

Bradshaw has said she would support the Green New Deal, Medicaid for All and other progressive causes.

Her platform appealed to Elizabeth Brown of Nashville, who voted for Bradshaw’s Democratic opponent, James Mackler, in the August primary but recently learned more about Bradshaw through social media.

“I just feel like her experience is really interesting, being like an activist and that she has a good perspective of the ‘every person,’ ” Brown says.

Tennessee hasn’t elected a Democrat to the Senate since Al Gore in 1990.

Chas joined WPLN in 2015 after eight years with The Tennessean, including more than five years as the newspaper's statehouse reporter.Chas has also covered communities, politics and business in Massachusetts and Washington, D.C. Chas grew up in South Carolina and attended Columbia University in New York, where he studied economics and journalism. Outside of work, he's a dedicated distance runner, having completed a dozen marathons