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Politics

US ambassador to Japan to run for Senate, Trump tweets

Bill Hagerty to contend for Tennessee seat after incumbent retires

U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty, left, and President Donald Trump at an event with business leaders in Tokyo on May 25.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Ambassador to Japan Bill Hagerty will run for the Senate in 2020 to represent his home state of Tennessee, President Donald Trump announced Friday.

Hagerty assumed his position in Tokyo in August 2017. He recently prepared for two visits by Trump to Japan and is known for his good rapport with the president. The administration will begin a search for Hagerty's successor.

Calls for Hagerty to run grew after incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander decided not to seek reelection.

"He is strong on crime, borders & our 2nd A.," Trump tweeted of Hagerty, referring to the U.S. Constitution's Second Amendment protection of the right to keep and bear arms. "Loves our Military & our Vets. Has my Complete & Total Endorsement!"

After stints at a consulting firm and elsewhere, Hagerty served as commissioner of Tennessee's Department of Economic and Community Development from 2011 to 2015. Hagerty served as Director of Presidential Appointments for the 2016 Trump Presidential Transition Team while on a leave of absence from Hagerty Peterson & Company, a private equity investment firm which he founded. 

Some considered Hagerty a "possible contender" to succeed Mike Pompeo as secretary of state if Pompeo runs for the Senate from his home state of Kansas, CNN reported Friday.

Talk of Pompeo's potential Senate candidacy appears to have lost momentum, but the possibility has not been ruled out.

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