On Thursday, Republican U.S. Senate Candidate Dr. Manny Sethi released a list of 174 “grassroots” activists supporting his campaign. Spoiler alert: We’re betting his opponent, former Trump ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, didn’t lose any sleep last night.
For instance, the most prominent official on Sethi’s list is State Rep. Bruce Griffey (District 75, Paris) and his wife, Rebecca. The Griffeys recently made statewide news for breaking state Republican Party bylaws in an attempt to intimidate a chancery court judge and ensure Rebecca Griffey’s appointment to the bench. The judge submitted her resignation to Governor Bill Lee after nine days, citing intimidation by the Griffeys.
Elected officials also include State Rep. Kelly Keisling (District 38, Byrdstown.) In 2012, Keisling used his official state email address to share the rumor with constituents that then-President Barack Obama was planning to stage a fake assassination attempt in order to stop the 2012 election.
In a press release, Forrest Barnwell-Hagemeyer, Sethi’s campaign manager, said, “It’s clear that Dr. Manny is the choice of Tennessee conservatives.”
In addition to the Griffeys and Keisling, those conservatives include:
- State Rep. Dan Howell, (D22-Cleveland,) whose legislative accomplishments have included voting for Governor Lee’s education voucher scheme, voting to authorize adoption agencies to deny adoption to parents who don’t comply with the agency’s religious beliefs, and voting to allow Gov. Lee to submit a waiver of Medicaid in favor of block grants to “cover” healthcare.
- Former (Nashville) Metro Council Member Duane Dominy, currently a plaintiff in a lawsuit alleging Metro violated its own laws in the pending deal to place a Major League Soccer stadium at Fairgrounds Nashville.
- Former Metro Council Member and current TNGOP Executive Committee Member Robert Duvall, who supported the legalization of gun carry in Metro Parks during his time on the council.
- Dr. Ming Wang of Nashville, lasik eye surgeon.
- Rick Williams, Nashville, former 5th Congressional District chair of 2016 Trump for President campaign.
- Helen “Tootie” Haskins, longtime Tennessee legislative aide.
- Fred Decosimo, Chattanooga, board member of the Beacon Center of Tennessee and treasurer of Lee’s gubernatorial campaign.
- Marshall County Trustee Scottie Poarch, who in 2017 was nominated by Congressman Scott DesJarlais as the 4th Congressional District’s Statesman of the Year.
- Dr. Omar Hamada, former chair of the Williamson County Republican Party.
- Cyndi Miller, state GOP Executive Committee member (D23-Williamson County), who has advocated for the sale of the public Williamson County Medical Center.
For a full list of Sethi’s grassroots cast of characters, go to the Tennessee Journal.