Hagerty bests Sethi in Hamilton County GOP straw poll for Senate seat

Former U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty campaigns for the Senate Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020, in Gallatin, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Tennessee Republican U.S. Senate hopeful Bill Hagerty topped GOP rival Manny Sethi Friday night in a Hamilton County Republican Party straw poll for the state's hotly contested Aug. 6 primary election.

No vote totals were publicly announced at the annual Lincoln Dinner fundraising event, which the GOP said was sold out.

The candidates' back-to-back appearances at the Chattanooga event came as Hagerty, 60, a private equity firm founder and former U.S. ambassador to Japan, and Nashville trauma surgeon Sethi, 42, compete in advance of Thursday's primary. Early voting ended on Saturday.

The Hamilton County GOP event was not without some controversy after one of the two keynote speakers spoke up for Hagerty. The sisters, known as "Diamond and Silk," are livestream video bloggers, political activists and former Fox Nation hosts.

After first praising President Donald Trump, who has endorsed Hagerty, one of the sisters said, "Make sure you vote for Bill Hagerty."

"I'm