President says Hagerty is running for U.S. Senate

Bill Hagerty / Source: US Embassy

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- President Donald Trump says U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty is running for Tennessee's open U.S. Senate seat.

Trump broke the news in a tweet on Friday afternoon, adding that the 59-year-old Republican candidate has the president's "complete and total endorsement."

Hagerty's spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request to confirm Trump's announcement.

The news comes a day after former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam confirmed he wouldn't run for the position being vacated by outgoing Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander. That same day, Tennessee U.S. Rep. Mark Green also announced he wouldn't for Senate despite previously expressing interest.

Hagerty was once Haslam's economic development commissioner and would have been unlikely to run against his old boss.

Trauma surgeon Manny Sethi announced his entrance into the race last month. Other Republicans are expected to join.

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