Mark Green

Songwriter abandons bid for 7th Congressional District seat

Just a month after announcing he would seek the Republican nomination in the 7th Congressional District, country music songwriter Lee Thomas Miller has changed his mind.

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Blackburn finds Roy Moore allegations ‘extremely disturbing;’ Fincher non-committal

As top Republicans nationally call for Roy Moore to end his Alabama U.S. Senate run amid allegations of sexual misconduct, the two Republicans competing for a Senate nomination in neighboring Tennessee — U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn and former Rep. Stephen Fincher – have finally issued statements on the matter, reports The Tennessean.

And the Nashville Post reports that state Sen. Mark Green, running to succeed U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn in Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District, is still silent on Moore – though he has deleted from social media accounts some past mentions of support for the former Alabama judge.

From The Tennessean:

“These allegations are extremely disturbing and if true I cannot support his candidacy for the United States Senate, but it’s up to the people of Alabama to ultimately decide,” Blackburn said in a statement.

Fincher did not address the allegations.

“That’s up to Alabama voters,” Fincher said of Moore’s candidacy. “I’m focused on Tennessee. The problems in this country are enormous. The debt. The deficit. The swamp. I’m going to run on what’s right and best for Tennessee and Tennesseans. Those are the things that I can do something about and that’s what we are going to fight for.”

… Democratic Senate candidate James Mackler has been on the offensive since the Moore controversy erupted on Nov. 9, arguing that Blackburn has been “silent on fellow Breitbart-endorsed candidate Roy Moore.” Mackler has called on Blackburn to denounce his candidacy.

“Roy Moore is not fit to serve in the U.S. Senate and Congresswoman Blackburn should say so,” Mackler has said.

From The Post:

Green, a onetime gubernatorial candidate and President Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of the Army, attended a rally for Moore in September and tweeted “Proud to call him a friend!” after Moore’s primary victory over incumbent Luther Strange. Both the tweet and a Facebook post showing the two meeting in Alabama have been deleted. In another deleted tweet, Green said, “Fantastic event in Mobile, AL with Judge soon to be US Senator Roy Moore!”

Green and his wife, Camilla, donated a combined $5,400 to Moore’s campaign in September, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Multiple phone calls, emails and texts to both Green and his campaign staff asking about his support for Moore have not been returned.

… Other Tennessee politicians supporting Moore have not deleted their posts. Republican gubernatorial candidate Mae Beavers, who tweeted an enthusiastic congratulations to Moore after his primary victory, did not respond to an email seeking comment. Former state Rep. Joe Carr, now running for a seat in the state Senate, also attended a rally for Moore in September. He did not immediately respond to a voicemail seeking comment.

Republican songwriter announces for 7th Congressional District seat

Prominent Nashville songwriter Lee Thomas Miller has officially announced his run for Congress to represent Tennessee, reports tasteofcountry.com.

Miller is a songwriter behind numerous country hits, including the No. 1 hits “The Impossible” for Joe Nichols, “The World”, “I’m Still a Guy” and “Perfect Storm” for Brad Paisley, “You’re Gonna Miss This” for Trace Adkins, Terri Clark’s “I Just Wanna Be Mad” and Tim McGraw’s “Southern Girl.” “You’re Gonna Miss This,” “The Impossible” and Jamey Johnson’s “In Color” were also nominated for Grammy Awards for Best Country Song. Miller is running for the District 7 House seat that U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn has held since 2002. Blackburn is vacating the seat to run for the Senate.

“I’ve been writing the stories of real Americans for as long as I can remember,” Miller said in a press release (and video, above) announcing his candidacy Tuesday (Nov. 14). “Stories about life and loss. Love and regret. Songs about innocence and youth. Songs about faith and the struggle to keep it. I give a voice to those who can not find the words they are looking for. I give a voice to those who are not being heard.”

…The songwriter is running as a Republican, and he lists religious liberties, a pro-life stance, cutting taxes and regulations and border security as key items he supports. Prior to his announcement, a number of top Nashville music business leaders signed a letter of support for his candidacy, including Curb Records CEO Mike Curb, songwriters Luke Laird, Liz Rose and busbee, and Brad Paisley and Dustin Lynch.

Update on Corker successor candidate speculation

Gov. Bill Haslam, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on the possibility of trying to succeed Sen. Bob Corker Tuesday. He’s certain to be asked about it at his next scheduled media availability on Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is definitely interested, reports The Tennessean, and will make a decision soon.

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Mark Green, Joe Carr considering run against Corker

State Sen. Mark Green is reconsidering a challenge to U.S. Sen. Bob Corker in the 2018 Republican primary, reports the Times Free Press, and former state Rep. Joe Carr is thinking about  it, too.

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Mark Green launches group to promote Christians in politics; won’t run for any new office himself

State Sen. Mark Green, who had talked about running for Congress after withdrawing as President Trump’s nominee to become U.S. Army secretary, says he is instead launching a new political advocacy organization that help other Christian conservatives run for office.

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Trump’s latest choice for U.S. Army secretary: Lobbyist who once worked for Bill Frist and Fred Thompson

President Donald Trump’s third proposed nominee as U.S. Army Secretary, is Mark Esper, Raytheon Inc.’s vice president of government relations and previously employed by two of Tennessee’s former U.S. senators, reports Politico.

A Gulf War veteran, Esper is a retired Army lieutenant colonel and a 1986 graduate of West Point. He has worked for Raytheon, one of the “big five” defense contractors, since 2010… Esper is a veteran of both Capitol Hill and the Pentagon. He has been the policy director for the House Armed Services Committee as well as director of national security affairs for then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.).

He was also a deputy assistant secretary of Defense during the George W. Bush administration and was the national policy director for the late Sen. Fred Thompson’s 2008 presidential bid.

… Trump’s first pick for the Army post, billionaire New York financier Vincent Viola, withdrew in February amid difficulty untangling his complex finances. The second pick, Tennessee Republican state Sen. Mark Green, withdrew amid mounting opposition over controversial statements he’d made about LGBT rights and Muslims.

Facebook page urges Green to run against Corker

A Facebook page has been set up under the title “Draft Mark Green to run for U.S. Senate in 2018” and The Tennessean quotes Rick Williams,  “a tea party-aligned conservative activist,” saying he was one of several people who helped form a group of the same name.

“It’s a group of conservatives from across the state,” Williams said, adding that he and others in the group were supportive of Green’s bid for governor and Army secretary. Some who are part of the online group were among the signatories of a letter encouraging Green to run for governor.

“A lot of us don’t see Bob Corker as supportive of the president as he should be,” Williams said.

The page also gets a mention in rambling Jackson Baker post, wherein the Memphis Flyer sage — also citing Williams as a source — notes that other names mentioned as possible Republican opponents for Corker include Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett, State House Representative Andy Holt and Americans for Prosperity Tennessee state director Andrew Ogles.

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Guber campaign notes: Prayerful Green, Fitzhugh on the cliff; Boyd & Lee on the road

Some notes from media reports on the developing campaign for governor:

Sen. Mark Green in a Tennessean report, after saying he was encouraged by a letter signed by 106 “conservative leaders” urging him to resume his run for the GOP nomination and that he would make a decision within a week.

“I have heard forom these leaders and many others from all parts of Tennessee asking me to run as their conservative candidate for governor,” he said. “I am examining, prayerfully, with the input of friends and family, all of my options including resuming my campaign for governor.”

House Speaker Craig Fitzhugh, Democrat, quoted by the Nashville Post from a speech to the L Club in Nashville on Saturday following an introduction by millionaire businessman Bill Freeman (who said “he’s my candidate for governor, if he decides to run”):

“I think I’m ready to jump off a cliff,” Fitzhugh told the group to loud applause. “I might go splat, but I might also land on my feet.

Another quote: “We’ve been in session, and I got behind on some other things. But we’re out now. And I’ve got some other boxes to check off and some people I want to talk to,” Fitzhugh said. “But I’m moving in that direction. I’ve got a lot of good support, some good encouragement, and my family’s on board, so I’m just almost there.”

Announced Republican candidates Randy Boyd and Bill Lee, both millionaire businessmen, continue their introductory campaign travels through the state, getting some local media attention. Recent samples:

Boyd quote from visit to Dover in Stewart County, as reported by the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle:

“I want to complete some missions I started while special adviser on higher education and while I was commissioner of Economic and Community Development,” Boyd said on a recent campaign swing through Dover. “My goal is to make Tennessee THE State of Opportunity. … When you think of Tennessee, that’s the place you go for a better education, for an opportunity for a better job, an opportunity for everyone. They don’t leave anyone behind in Tennessee.”

Lee quote from visit to the Tri-Cities area, as reported by the Johnson City Press;

The cattle farmer, businessman and family man leads his campaign by letting people know he isn’t a politician, focusing on the fact that he is a native Tennessean with the people and state in mind.

“We have growing cities, a great small business climate and improving schools,” Lee said. “But we also face challenges shared by both our rural areas and inner cities — rising crime, persistent unemployment, increasing opioid abuse and families in turmoil. While we’ve made great strides across our state, we can’t leave these communities behind.”

106 TN ‘conservative leaders’ call for Green to resume run for GOP gubernatorial nomination

A group of 106 people, describing themselves as Tennessee conservative leaders and operating under the title “Coalition 2018,” have signed a letter calling for state Sen. Mark Green of Clarksville to resume his campaign for the Republican gubernatorial nomination after withdrawing from consideration as President Trump’s nominee to become U.S. secretary of the Army.

The group includes tea party activists – including, for example, Nashville Tea Party President Ben Cunningham, Chattanooga Tea Party President Mark West and Judson Phillips, founder of Tea Party Nation – along with at least three current members of the state Republican Party Executive Committee and Joe Carr, a former state representative who unsuccessfully challenged Lamar Alexander in the 2014 U.S. Senate primary and Diane Black in the 2016 6th Congressional District Republican primary.

Green, who filed the paperwork for gubernatorial campaign early this year, decided against seeking U.S. Senate confirmation of his Army secretary nomination after a national criticism from some groups for remarks they interpreted as hostile toward LGBT persons and the Muslim religion – remarks notably including a taped appearance before the Chattanooga Tea Party.

Says the letter: “Throughout the nomination process, Senator Green was attacked by the likes of Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Elizabeth Warren. Tennesseans disagree, because we know and share Mark’s values. We write today to urge Mark Green to resume his campaign for Governor.”
Green has so far been non-committal about resuming the race, saying only that he’s thinking about it.

(Three other legislators considering a run for governor and widely expected to announce decisions shortly after the legislative session ended — House Speaker Beth Harwell and Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris on the GOP side and House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh on the Democratic side — have also maintained silence. )

Text of the letter with a list of those signing is HERE.