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Congressional candidates take aim at socialism at GOP meeting

Robert Houk • Jul 7, 2020 at 12:00 AM

Bill Hagerty, a candidate for the U.S. Senate, joined other Republican congressional candidates speaking at a meeting of the Washington County Federated Republican Women on Monday in praising President Donald Trump and warning of a wave of socialism sweeping the nation.

Hagerty, who is one of 15 Republicans on the Aug. 6 ballot vying to succeed retiring U.S. Sen Lamar Alexander, told Republicans at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City he believes “America is at a crossroads.” The former ambassador to Japan noted that he has been endorsed in the race by the president, and said that “Trump needs an ally more than ever” in the Congress.

He told the partisan crowd that after the president delivered “an inspiring speech” at Mount Rushmore over the Fourth of July weekend, “an angry mob burned the flag” in front of the Whited House. Hagerty said the “Democratic response” to such protests have been to defund the police.

“That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard,” he said.

Hagerty, who along with Dr. Manny Sethi of Nashville, is considered to be a frontrunner in the Senate race, said he would join Trump in holding China accountable for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“Make no mistake, they (China) unleashed this virus on us, took our jobs and I’m going to hit them where it hurts,” he said.

Several candidates vying for Tennessee’s 1st District seat in Congress also professed their support of Trump to Republican Women on Monday, while predicting calamity if Republicans are not elected in November. 

“We are in a war,” said state Sen. Rusty Crowe, R-Johnson City, who is one of 16 Republicans on the ballot running to succeed retiring U.S. Rep.  Phil Roe, R-Johnson City. “It’s America vs. socialism.”

Crowe said a “liberal, socialist mob” is in charge of Congress, and has worked to thwart most of Trump’s policies.

Nichole Williams, a candidate from Kingsport, said if elected to Congress she would strike a blow to socialism by pushing to repeal “75% of FDR’s New Deal.” Williams said she is a “die-hard supporter” of the Second Amendment, and believes all gun laws are unconstitutional. Williams also told local Republicans she would make “all abortions 100% illegal.”

State Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, said he is the only “proven conservative” seeking the GOP nomination for the 1st District seat in Congress. Hill said voters could “count on” him to support Trump and law and order if elected.

“I’m for defunding Planned Parenthood, not the police,” Hill said.

The Republican Women also heard from Kent A. Morrell, another Republican candidate running for Alexander’s seat in the Senate. Morrell, a Knoxville resident who grew up in Bristol, said his own 19-year struggle to recover from a car accident has given him “a front row seat” to the problems with “Obamacare” and “bad government policies” on health care.

Morrell said the nation has been “lied to about the dangers of cannabis,” and believes it’s time to “restore other treatment options for patients.”