Green puts off an­nounc­ing gu­ber­na­to­rial plans

Chattanooga Times Free Press - - OBITUARIES - BY ERIK SCHELZIG

NASHVILLE — Repub­li­can state Sen. Mark Green has made up his mind about whether to re­join the gover­nor’s race in Ten­nessee, but he doesn’t want to make his de­ci­sion pub­lic un­til later this week.

The Ash­land City physi­cian sus­pended his gu­ber­na­to­rial cam­paign while seek­ing con­fir­ma­tion as Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s pick for Army sec­re­tary. He with­drew from con­sid­er­a­tion for that po­si­tion amid bi­par­ti­san crit­i­cism about his past com­ments on LGBT is­sues and Mus­lims.

Green had said he would make a de­ci­sion about re-en­ter­ing the gover­nor’s race by Me­mo­rial Day. In a Face­book post late Mon­day night, Green said he and his wife, Camie, have made a joint de­ci­sion, but he wants to spend the week in­form­ing friends and other lead­ers be­fore re­veal­ing it pub­licly.

Fel­low Repub­li­can Sen. Mae Beavers of Mt. Juliet has an­nounced plans to join the race this week­end. She had said dur­ing Green’s nom­i­na­tion for the Army post that she would run for gover­nor if he didn’t.

Beavers, who said her top cam­paign pri­or­ity will be fight­ing the “the ter­ror­ist threat from rad­i­cal Is­lam,” made no men­tion of Green in her an­nounce­ment.

Busi­ness­men Randy Boyd of Knoxville and Bill Lee of Franklin are the only other can­di­dates to for­mally en­ter the Repub­li­can race so far, while sev­eral oth­ers are con­sid­er­ing a bid. They in­clude U.S. Rep. Diane Black of Gal­latin, state House Speaker Beth Har­well of Nashville and state Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mark Nor­ris of Col­lierville.

A Van­der­bilt Univer­sity poll re­leased Tues­day in­di­cates that Black would start her race with an ad­van­tage in name recog­ni­tion. Forty-nine per­cent of reg­is­tered vot­ers sur­veyed in the poll said they rec­og­nized Black’s name, fol­lowed by 34 per­cent for Har­well, 28 per­cent for Beavers, 26 per­cent for Boyd and 21 per­cent for Green. Lee and Nor­ris had 14 per­cent name recog­ni­tion.

Mean­while, 38 per­cent said they rec­og­nized the name of Demo­cratic can­di­date Karl Dean, a former Nashville mayor, while 8 per­cent had heard of Craig Fitzhugh, the state House mi­nor­ity leader from Ri­p­ley who is con­sid­er­ing join­ing the race.

The poll found a slight dip in ap­proval of term-lim­ited Repub­li­can Gov. Bill Haslam, to 61 per­cent, down from 68 per­cent when the poll was last taken in Novem­ber. The ap­proval rat­ing of the Gen­eral Assem­bly dropped from 60 per­cent to 53 per­cent over the same pe­riod.

The poll sur­veyed 1,004 reg­is­tered vot­ers, of whom 37 per­cent were in the east­ern di­vi­sion of the state, 44 per­cent in Nashville and central Ten­nessee, and 19 per­cent from the west­ern re­gion.

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