An Indian-American physician in Tennessee is running in the Aug. 6, 2020 Republican primary for the U.S. Senate and has shown considerable fundraising prowess as well as been endorsed by leading GOP politicians. He says President Trump needs a doctor in the upper house.
Dr. Manish Kumar “Manny” Sethi, 42, more popularly called ‘Dr. Manny’, is an orthopedic trauma surgeon and Associate Professor at a leading trauma care hospital in Nashville who has thrown his hat into politics, hoping to defeat the numerous GOP rivals, fifteen candidates to be precise, who are also hoping for their party’s nomination. The seat became vacant when incumbent Sen. Lamar Alexander announced December 17, 2018, that he would not seek re-election.
According to Ballotpedia, “Two candidates— Bill Hagerty and Manny Sethi—lead in media attention, noteworthy primary endorsements, advertisement activity, and campaign spending.”
Going by the Federal Election Commission data, as of July 17, 2020, Sethi has total receipts of $4,631,035, and total contributions of $2,688m723, an overwhelming portion of which ($2,619,473) is in individual contributions. His ‘cash on hand’ however, as of July 17, 2020, is at $385,595, predictable just days before the primary.
Hagerty’s total receipts however are way higher at more than $12 million, as of July 17. However, his total contributions are just a little over Sethi’s at close to 6 million ($ 5,828,171), plus Hagerty has more than $2 million in hand as he goes into the primary.
Hagerty has another big advantage in the primary. He served as President Donald Trump’s Ambassador to Japan and has been endorsed by him. He also has the endorsement of Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.
However, Dr. Sethi has some notable support as well, with Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, and former Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina. DeMint is the founder of the Senate Conservatives Fund and the former president of the think tank Heritage Foundation.
Also, in 2016, Sethi was invited to meet President Trump to discuss Healthy Tennessee’s community engagement and impact across the state. In 2017, he testified on challenges Tennesseans face in obtaining and maintaining health insurance before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
According to his bio on the election website, Dr. Sethi is the founder of Healthy Tennessee, a non-profit organization designed to promote preventative health care across the state.
Sethi’s parents hail from the Punjab and his father was a doctor for 25 years in a small town in Coffee County, Tennessee, Dr. Sethi says on his campaign website. He lost his father early in life, he says, and “his loss acutely focused me on finding meaning in my own life.” That’s when he decided to follow his father’s footsteps.
“The American Dream I have lived is in great peril and I want to fight and keep it alive,” says Dr. Sethi, faulting ‘career politicians’ for not keeping their promises.
“Whether it is fixing healthcare, cutting runaway spending, stopping illegal immigration, or ending the opioid epidemic, I believe President Trump needs a trauma surgeon in the Senate who can act decisively for his patient, the people of Tennessee,” he adds.
“I really think he has a great chance of winning and if he gets through the primary, he will have a clear path through the general election. We could be looking at the first Indian American Republican U.S. Senator…” Adi R. Sathi, an Indian-American Republican strategist, told News India Times via email. Sathi is the chief of staff of Young Republican National Federation, and also served for two years as director, Asian Pacific American Engagement at the Republican National Committee. Sathi says Dr. Sethi is “currently surging in the polls,” Sen. Paul and Sen. Ted Cruz are campaigning for him in Tennessee.
Raised in Hillsboro, Tennessee, Dr. Sethi received his undergraduate degree from Brown University, Rhode Island. After college, as a Fulbright Scholar he worked in Tunisia with children suffering from muscular dystrophy. He then went on to earn his medical degree from Harvard Medical School, where he also completed his orthopedic residency.
“Dr. Manny returned home to Tennessee to impact change in healthcare and education,” his campaign website says.
He is married to Maya, and the couple has two children. The family attends McKendree United Methodist Church in Nashville.