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Staff photo by C.B. Schmelter / Dr. Manny Sethi meets informally with the editorial board at the Times Free Press on Wednesday, July 17, 2019 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

NASHVILLE — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Manny Sethi on Tuesday knocked GOP rival Bill Hagerty as yet another national surrogate for Hagerty swooped into Tennessee to campaign on his behalf.

"Bill Hagerty has to have other people campaign for him because he stinks at it," Sethi's campaign chairman Chris Devaney charged in a statement. "Grassroots conservatives don't like him, and not even Nikki Haley can fix that."

Devaney's comments came as Haley, former South Carolina governor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, came to Nashville to boost a fundraiser for Hagerty, President Donald Trump's former U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Last month, Donald Trump Jr. campaigned in Gallatin, north of Nashville, to stump on behalf of Hagerty, a multi-millionaire businessman who formerly served as Tennessee's chief economic recruiter.

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

Accompanying Trump Jr. on the visit as Hagerty opened up his campaign headquarters was former Fox News anchor Kimberly Guilfoyle, who is the national chairwoman of the Trump Victory Finance Committee in the president's 2020 effort.

Trump last July announced by tweet support for Hagerty's bid for the seat now held by retiring U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn. It came before his ambassador, still on duty in Japan, announced he was running.

Sethi, a Nashville trauma surgeon, entered the race earlier, even before then-Gov. Bill Haslam, who had previously named Hagerty as the economic commissioner, announced he would not seek Alexander's seat. Alexander has since contributed to Hagerty's campaign.

The GOP primary is Aug. 6.

Democrats running for Senate include Nashville attorney and Iraq war veteran James Mackler.

Contact Andy Sher at @asher@timesfreepress.com or 615-255-0550. Follow him on Twitter @AndySher1.

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