Mark Green

Haslam to decide on Senate bid within 3 weeks

Former Gov. Bill Haslam (right) and U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander attend the state Republican Party’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner in Nashville on June 15, 2019.

Republican Bill Haslam plans to make up his mind about a U.S. Senate bid within the next two or three weeks, the former governor told reporters at the state GOP’s annual Statesmen’s Dinner fundraiser.

Haslam said it’s been his intention to decide about whether to make a bid to succeed U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) within six months of leaving the governor’s office.

The former governor sat a table alongside Alexander, junior Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Brentwood), and U.S. Ambassador Bill Hagerty.

Hagerty would be expected to give the race some serious consideration if Haslam doesn’t run. U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) is also mulling a campaign. Surgeon Manny Sethi of Nashville announced his candidacy earlier this month.

Haslam said he enjoyed being back in political circles.

“I loved the job, and when you come back and see a lot of people you haven’t seen, you miss that,” he said. “But being a private citizen has its upsides, too.”

Club for Growth launches website targeting Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam gives his farewell address before the inauguration ceremony for Gov. Bill Lee in Nashville on Jan. 19, 2019. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

The Club for Growth, a conservative Super PAC, is taking aim at former Gov. Bill Haslam’s potential candidacy for the U.S. Senate. The Knoxville Republican is expected to make a decision about whether to run this spring.

The group has expressed support for U.S. Rep. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) to jump into the race to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) next year. Club for Growth agitated on Republican Marsha Blackburn’s behalf in her successful bid for the Senate last year.

“Deciding to run for the United States Senate would be different than deciding if I am going to go work for this bank or that insurance company or whatever,” Haslam said a Freed-Hardeman University forum last week.  “At the end of the day, for all of us, it’s about where can we be the most useful. Where can our gifts and the world’s needs intersect.”

The Club for Growth ad and the related DirtyBillHaslam.com website take aim over the scandal at the Pilot Flying J truck stop chain controlled by the former governor and his family.

“Governor, don’t run,” Club for Growth Action President David McIntosh said in a release. “You have a legacy as governor and clearly don’t have the fire in the belly nor desire to serve in the U.S. Senate.”

Green to host swearing-in fundraiser featuring Lee, legislative leaders

It’s never too soon to start raising money. Especially in newly-elected U.S. Rep. Mark Green’s case, given that he’s made no great secret about mulling a bid to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander in 2020.

Green is holding a fundraiser “celebrating the swearing-in” of the congressman on Jan. 23 — 20 days after he was actually sworn in. Also attending are Gov.-elect Bill Lee, Senate Speaker Randy McNally, House Speaker Glen Casada, and Senate Majority Leader Jack Johnson.

It will be interesting to see whether any of those legislative leaders distance themselves from Green if term-limited Gov. Bill Haslam decides to jump into the Senate race.

She’s back! Kurita selected as interim state senator

Former Sen. Rosalind Kurita, whom Democrats stripped of their party’s nomination after she broke ranks to vote for Republican Ron Ramsey to become Senate speaker in 2007, has been appointed as an interim replacement for Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) after his election to Congress.

The Leaf Chronicle of Clarksville reports Kurita emerged the winner Monday after 13 rounds of voting by the Montgomery County Commission.

“It feels wonderful to be selected by the County Commission, and I appreciate the support I have received here this evening,” Kurita told the paper.

Kurita is expected to caucus with the Republican supermajority. She said she won’t be a candidate in the special election to fill the remainder of Green’s term (the primary is March 7 and the general election is on April 23).

The year after voting for Ramsey (the chamber was tied 16-16 with one independent at the time, making hers a crucial vote), Kurita survived a primary challenge from fellow Clarksville Democrat Tim Barnes by all of 19 votes. Barnes filed a challenge with the Democratic Executive Committee, with his attorneys contending that “Republicans crossed over en masse.”

Kurita’s lawyers argued the crossover wasn’t out of the ordinary. But after a day-long hearing that also included allegations that Barnes voters were directed to vote in the Republican primary and that Kurita had violated the 100-foot barrier in polling place (to go to the restroom, her attorneys said, deriding the allegation as “potty gate”), the Democratic panel voted 33-11 to strip Kurita of the nomination on the basis of the outcome of the primary having become “incurably uncertain.” She mounted a write-in
campaign, but lost to Barnes, 62% to 39%.

Kurita was a candidate for the Democratic U.S. Senate nomination in 2006, but bowed out before the primary.

Ramsey appears pleased with Kurita’s appointment:

 

Green adds $200K in new self-funding to build fat money lead over competing Democrats

Though without opposition in the 7th Congressional District Republican primary, state Sen. Mark Green loaned his campaign another $200,000 in the first quarter of 2018 – making a total of $500,000 in self-funding so far — and collected $267,949 in contributions, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

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House-passed bill cutting gun law violation penalty dies quietly in Senate

A bill reducing the maximum penalty for illegally carrying a gun from $500 to $250 – approved 72-20 by the House earlier this month after considerable debate – died quietly in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Sponsoring Sen. Mark Green (R-Ashland City) briefly described the measure (HB2586) when he brought it before the committee, suggesting it would apply in situations were a person “accidentally forgot” he or she had a firearm. Committee Chairman Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) then promptly declared it had failed because there was no seconding motion from any member of the panel, as required under parliamentary rules. There was no further discussion.

As noted by WPLN, law enforcement, gun control groups and the governor’s office had all voiced opposition to the measure.

Previous post HERE.

Green has $581K cash stash for 7th Congressional District campaign

State Sen. Mark Green has raised $421,954 in donations to his campaign for the Republican nomination to the 7th Congressional District seat and loaned the campaign $300,000, according to a report filed with the Federal Election Commission.

At this point, Green has no primary opposition. Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller, who announced as a candidate but later withdrew, reported refunding about $160,000 in contributions to the donors.

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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.