MEMPHIS, Tenn. — One of the hottest Tennessee races in this year’s election is who will fill the seat of retiring senator Lamar Alexander. Candidates Marquita Bradshaw and Bill Hagerty are working to pull out the votes.
Five days before the election, Bradshaw is headed to early vote, emotional about what it means.
“I got to vote for Kamala Harris for Vice President and myself for U.S. senator. We are making history in Tennessee,” Bradshaw said.
Hagerty voted earlier with his family and feels good about the race.
“The numbers are very high, and I think that reflects the enthusiasm I feel right here in Tennessee,” Hagerty said.
They’re two newcomers running for office. Bradshaw is the first African-American woman nominated for state-wide office in Tennessee.
Hagerty has supported campaigns in the past, including chairing the 2016 Trump victory fund. He was later named U.S Ambassador to Japan.
“We are moving back in the right direction, and I think the last thing people want to see is turning this nation over to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris,” Hagerty said.
“The person you send to the U.S. Senate shapes our future for all of us, and the only person bringing all of us together is Marquita Bradshaw. That’s why I voted for Marquita Bradshaw,” Bradshaw said.
Bradshaw, a Democrat, has made a main issue in her candidacy a call for cleaner renewable energy. Hagerty, a Republican, says America is already on the right track environmentally.
“I think the American innovation and ingenuity have allowed us to continue to develop our fossil fuel resources in a way that is safe for the environment. We should continue to do so,” Hagerty said.
“We cannot continue to have industries based on pollution and pain,” Bradshaw said. “Right now, we have people forced to go to work because they have to have food on their table and a roof over their head. They are forced to pollute their community at the same time.”
Another big issue is jobs, especially since the pandemic. Coronavirus is expected to be a big issue for voters.
“We have flattened the curve,” Hagerty said. “We have adequate capacity now to deal with any sort of surge that happens. At the same time, we are working very rapidly to get this vaccine and therapies developed.”
“Right now, it matters who you elect,” Bradshaw said. “The person that you elect will look out for your community or not. And you can just look at the current administration and what has been going on and say hey, I want something different.”
Election Day is Tuesday. Bradshaw will be in Memphis on election night, while Hagerty will be in Nashville. WREG will be at both campaigns with full coverage of the election results.