Candidates in the Aug. 6 Republican primary election may differ on specifically why they are running for office, but one issue they remain abundantly clear and united on is their support for President Donald Trump.
The Franklin County Republican Party hosted a candidate rally on June 23 at the Farmers Market Pavilion, adjacent to the Franklin County Annex Building in Winchester, and the event was attended by U.S. Senate and House of Representatives candidates, state and local contenders, plus more than 200 party members and political supporters.
Lamar Alexander, Tennessee’s senior U.S. senator, is not seeking re-election for the position he has held since 2003, and 15 candidates are vying for the open seat on the Aug. 6 Republican primary ballot.
Attending Tuesday’s event were Byron Bush, Roy Dale Cope, Jon Henry, Mike Carter (speaking for candidate Bill Hagerty) and Manny Sethi.
U.S. Fourth District Representative candidates attending the event included incumbent Scott DesJarlais and challengers Doug Meyer and Randy A. Sharp.
Unchallenged Tennessee District 16 Sen. Janice Bowling was present as was unchallenged District 39 House Rep. Iris Rudder.
Incumbent House District 92 Rep. Rick Tillis was also present as was challenger Vincent A. Cuevas.
At the local level, County Commission District 8, Seat A candidate Glenn T. Summers Jr. attended the rally.
The candidates’ backgrounds differ with medical, dental, pharmacy, real estate, military, farming, business and law enforcement career paths which they highlighted in their speeches.
Each candidate explained how they deem their career experience will benefit them and their constituents if elected to office.
The incumbents also highlighted how they deem their experience in office is beneficial to ensuring President Trump’s conservative agenda is carried out.
DesJarlais, a physician who has served as the U.S. representative for Tennessee’s 4th congressional district since 2011, said the president is facing a difficult path on the road to re-election, and he urged those in the audience to be aggressive in supporting him.
DesJarlais said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to sustain the economy, but it can be overcome, and conditions will soon return to pre-pandemic period highs.
He stressed his conservative track record and vowed to continue that agenda while in office.
Meyer has had a career in the Coast Guard and law enforcement and said he would be diligent in carrying out President Trump’s agenda. He stressed that he will be transparent to constituents.
“I will give you the truth,” he said.
Sharp is a real estate agent and explained how he feels his background in that field would be beneficial in handling policies at the federal level. He added that he will be a dedicated public servant.
“I can do a better job,” he said, explaining why he feels constituents should support him.
On the U.S. Senate side of the campaign trail, Bush is a Nashville resident and dentist. He stated that as a small-business owner with a thriving practice, he has experience to build the economy and create jobs.
Cope is a pharmacist, a small-business owner and a military veteran.
He said that through his career in the Marines, he learned to listen and lead, and that experience would benefit constituents as a senator.
Carter spoke on behalf of Hagerty, who could not attend the event.
Carter said he initially thought he would be going to a rally in the city of Franklin. However, he said he was glad he was in Franklin County because it is more down to earth, and he’s more at home wearing blue jeans and carrying a pocket knife.
Carter said Hagerty is a family man who is pro-life, and his business experience and track record as the U.S. ambassador to Japan amply qualifies him for the senatorial position.
Sethi is a physician, the president and founder of the nonprofit Healthy Tennessee and an orthopedic trauma surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
He is the director of the Vanderbilt Orthopedic Institute Center for Health Policy.
Sethi said he grew up in Hillsboro, the son of immigrants from India who waited their turn to come into the United States and were successful in the medical field.
He said his experience as a physician has given him insight on how to develop better ways to handle the nation’s healthcare issues.
Like the other candidates, he said he would strongly support President Trump’s conservative agenda.