State Sen. Mark Green to run for congressional seat U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn is vacating

NAS-GOP straw poll

Sen. Mark Green addresses the crowd at the Williamson County Republican Party”s annual BBQ Saturday, July 15, 2017, in Thompson’s Station, Tenn. (Photo: George Walker IV / Tennessean.com)

Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green will run for Congress, reversing a previous decision not to seek higher office this year in light of U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s own run for the U.S. Senate.

“As a proven conservative fighter, I am ready to earn the trust of the voters and take my values and leadership to the United States Congress,” Green said in a statement.

Green said he was surprised by the lack of results in a GOP-led Congress, especially given the party’s promises of repealing the Affordable Care Act, lower taxes and addressing immigration.

“When Republicans hold majorities in Congress, it’s time to lead, not have more committee hearings and protect special interests. The time for appeasement is over.”

Green’s entry came moments after Blackburn announced her Senate run Thursday. Both decisions came after Gov. Bill Haslam released a statement saying he will not run for Senate in 2018.

In an interview, Green said he would try to bring what he did in the state legislature, including fighting for smaller government and fewer taxes, to Congress.

“Tennessee is in a good place,” he said. “The real need is in Washington, D.C.”

Green, who was re-elected to the legislature last year, said he does not plan on resigning from his Senate seat.

Green’s announcement is the latest chapter in a busy year of politics for the Clarksville Republican.

After becoming the first candidate to enter the 2018 governor’s race in January, Green halted his bid while under consideration to be President Donald Trump’s Army secretary.

In early May, Green withdrew his name from consideration for the federal post after comments he has made about gays and lesbians, Muslims and other groups surfaced, drawing fierce criticism.

In June, Green said he would not re-enter the governor’s race but he continued to make appearances at political events.

In July, a group of conservatives, including tea party-aligned activist Rick Williams, created a Facebook group to encourage Green to run for the seat held by Corker.

Last month Green said he would not run for higher office in 2018 instead focusing on new launching a nationwide foundation focused on helping people of faith engage in the political arena. Green said his decision was based on the political landscape at the time.

In light of Corker’s bombshell announcement, Tennessee’s political landscape shifted, leading Green to reconsider a 2018 bid.

In a potential allusion to what he may face on the campaign trail, Green’s previous remarks, which were scrutinized when he was under consideration for the federal Army post, were once again brought up immediately after his announcement. A representative from GLAAD quickly sent out statements highlighting the state senator’s remarks.

Green said he was not worried about any potential criticism he may face, adding, “The people in Tennessee know me and know me to be fair.”

Even as news of Green’s announcement was still breaking Thursday, he received an endorsement from conservative activist group Club for Growth PAC.

With Blackburn’s announced departure only coming Thursday, Green is the only declared Republican candidate for the seat. However, other GOP contenders could enter the race for the seventh district, which includes conservative hotbed Williamson County.

A spokesman for House Majority Leader Glen Casada, R-Franklin, said he had no interest in running for the seat.

Sen. Jack Johnson, R-Franklin, said he was not considering running either, and will instead focus on trying to become the next Senate Majority Leader, which is expected to be open if Sen. Mark Norris, R-Collierville, is confirmed to serve as a federal judge.

On the Democratic side, former Amazing Race contestant Justin Kanew has announced his candidacy.

Read More
%d bloggers like this: