How We Won – Bill Hagerty

On Thursday night, August 6th, Bill Hagerty had a historic victory to win the Tennessee Senate Republican primary. En route to his resounding victory Hagerty:

  • Won More Than 50% Of The Vote In A 15-Candidate Field
  • Won 83 Of 95 Counties
  • Won Every Single Media Market
  • Won Every Single Grand Division

The key to success can be found within this axiom: Don’t confuse motion with progress. In fact this is a motto we said over and over on the Hagerty campaign and each day in our daily staff meeting.

Throughout this campaign, we focused on the fundamentals: good old-fashioned grassroots and field organizing, reliable data and analytics, harnessing digital and social media, and robust press operations to talk to the right voters with the right message.

We built the ship, trained the crew, mapped the coordinates, and then sent the crew on its way.

On July 6th, Team Hagerty walked key donors and the White House through our strategy for the final month of the campaign. The top three priorities we laid out were:

  • Congressional District 1
  • Rural Counties
  • Shelby County

On Thursday, we saw the priorities we laid out and the progress we fought for every day pay off with Tennesseans overwhelmingly voting for Bill Hagerty to be their Republican nominee to be Tennessee’s next U.S. Senator.


On the Hagerty campaign we fought for every inch, everyday. And that all started with running a data- driven, grassroots campaign. Over the course of the campaign, Team Hagerty:

  • Made 3 Million Personal Voter Contacts
  • 1.4 Million Volunteer Phone Calls
  • 1.5 Million Peer To Peer Text Messages
  • Knocked On Over 80,000 Doors
    • Half Of These Doors Were In Rural Areas That Had Never Been Knocked On By A Statewide Campaign
  • Over 60,000 Personal Handwritten Notes
  • Recruited Over 1,000 Grassroots Leaders To Our County Leadership Team
  • Received The Most Nominating Petition Signatures For A Republican Candidate Running For Public Office In Tennessee History

Our grassroots efforts were magnified and had a stronger ROI because we armed our field team with the latest technology.

We were extremely targeted with who we were talking to. We had 120+ different issue buckets. We targeted voters with different messages not only on digital and social media, but also with our volunteer efforts. If for example, after hearing about the Trump Endorsement you were more likely to vote for Hagerty, we did “digital chase” to that voter with a video of Donald Trump Jr. talking about why he and his father need Bill Hagerty in the Senate.

Additionally, our team aggressively reached out to supporters who needed rides to the polls. One of our strongest blocks of voters were older voters, so we made sure we took our supporters to their polling location on Election Day.


To win a statewide race, you have to run a statewide campaign. The conventional wisdom was that East Tennessee was very tight, or even that we were behind. We ended up winning East Tennessee by double digits.

Throughout Tennessee’s political history, many campaigns have forgotten about West Tennessee – the Hagerty campaign was not going to make that same mistake. West Tennessee ended up representing 16% of the electorate on Thursday night.

The Hagerty campaign netted more votes out of Shelby County alone (nearly 23,000) than any other candidate netted in a county they won, combined. Overall, we won West Tennessee by 32 points. A deficit that on its own would have been tough to overcome.

Over the last week of the campaign alone we were sure to visit every single media market in the state to make sure everyone heard Bill’s conservative message heading into Election Day.


We were aggressive day-in and day-out with our earned media and press operations. Over the course the campaign Team Hagerty had:

  • Over 105 Press Releases
  • Over 50 Editorials And Opinion Contributions
  • Over 150 Radio Appearances
  • Over 180+ Positive News Stories
  • At Least 3 Interviews In Every Media Market Over The Last Week Of the Campaign

Many of our radio appearances were into shows in rural areas – we realized that in a primary this was a great way to talk to voters in these areas early and often.


Make no mistake about it, Bill Hagerty’s victory is a huge win for the grassroots in Tennessee and President Trump. Hagerty did better with voters as they were more enthusiastic and intense with their support for the President. Where did Hagerty run up the score on Election Night? It was in all of the rural counties – the heart of Trump Country. Hagerty did best in the areas where the President’s numbers are strongest.


As we look ahead to November, the Democrats nominated Marquita Bradshaw, who has only raised $8,000 and didn’t file her last two FEC reports. The DSCC endorsed candidate, James Mackler, finished in third. Bradshaw is a self-avowed progressive who:

  • Supports Medicare For All
  • Supports The Green New Deal
  • Is Backed By The Democratic Socialists Of America

The contrast in November couldn’t be more clear.


Candidates and campaigns matter. Every single day Team Hagerty fought for that inch. We did not confuse motion with progress.

What does progress look like? It looks like Bill Hagerty winning the Tennessee Republican Senate Primary by double digits, winning every single media market, and running the strongest grassroots primary campaign this state has ever seen.