Updated at 4:12 p.m. on Monday, June 3, 2019, with more information.
NASHVILLE — Nashville trauma surgeon Manny Sethi announced Monday he is running for the Republican U.S. Senate nomination to replace retiring Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee.
Sethi, 41, made the announcement as former Gov. Bill Haslam continues weighing a bid for the 2020 GOP nomination. The physician is playing up his status as a "conservative outsider."
"I am not a politician," Sethi said in an announcement video. "I'm a surgeon, an outsider. I'm a conservative and I support President Trump. Above all, I am grateful to God for a story that could have only have happened right here in Tennessee.
The U.S.-born Sethi noted his parents' roots in India. His father immigrated to the U.S. where he practiced for years as a physician in Tennessee.
Sethi cited his own work in founding a nonprofit group that provides free preventative health care.
In a written statement, Sethi declared, "I am a product of the American dream. I want to make sure that dream is available to our children and grandchildren." He also said "Tennesseans want a conservative outsider who will take on the establishment, support President Trump, fight illegal immigration and work to repeal ObamaCare. That's why I'm running for Senate."
Haslam, a billionaire, has been mulling a GOP bid since leaving office in January after serving eight years as governor and almost two terms before that as Knoxville's mayor. The former governor is a friend of Alexander, who earlier this year announced he won't seek re-election after at the end of his third term.
In addition to Haslam, U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty and U.S. Rep. Mark Green are weighing bids. Hagerty, who served as Haslam's economic development commissioner, is seen as unlikely to enter the race if Haslam gets in.
Democratic attorney and Iraq war veteran James Mackler and Republican country musician Stokes Nielson already formally declared their candidacies.
Sethi, who served as the 2016 chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party's annual fundraiser, has been talking about a potential bid since last year.
He's brought on two veteran GOP political hands involved in Republican Gov. Bill Lee's surprise victory in the 2018 GOP primary. In that contest, Lee, a businessman, also stressed his "outsider" status and religious faith.