Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green is under strong consideration to be President Donald Trump's pick for U.S. Secretary of the Army, and a decision could be coming soon, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
The move would abruptly halt the former Army officer's bid for governor of Tennessee just two months after it launched.
The White House's consideration of Green, a Clarksville Republican and West Point graduate, comes after Vincent Viola, a previous nominee of Trump's administration for the position, withdrew his nomination last month.
The Tennessean's reporting confirms a prior report from Bloomberg Government this month that said Green was getting a look for the job.
Green could not immediately be reached for comment.
Trump will be in Nashville, Tennessee's capital city, on Wednesday afternoon to mark the 250th birthday of President Andrew Jackson and later a campaign-style rally at Municipal Auditorium.
All of Green's bills that had been set for discussion in Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday were instead sent back to a subcommittee. That's generally a sign the legislation is either dead for the year or may be carried by a different lawmaker.
The Secretary of the Army is the top civilian position and manages the Army's 140-plus installations worldwide and a budget of about $150 billion.
Viola, a billionaire and owner of the Florida Panthers NHL team, withdrew his nomination for the position after he said he couldn’t separate himself from his businesses enough to so as not to pose a conflict of interest.
Green, a 52-year-old physician, was deployed three times overseas during his military service. He was an Army medic for a special operations team that captured Saddam Hussein and wrote a book about the experience. Green, like Viola, attended West Point Military Academy.
After his Army career, Green founded AlignMD, an emergency room management firm, which was acquired by American Physician Partners in 2016 as part of a $24 million deal.
An appointment of Green would considerably shake up the governor’s race in Tennessee. Green, who is popular among many tea party-aligned Republicans, was the first to formally enter a 2018 Republican gubernatorial primary that is expected to attract several candidates. Randy Boyd, former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, announced his bid last week.
Other possible Republican candidates include U.S. Rep. Diane Black, House Speaker Beth Harwell, Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris and former state lawmaker Joe Carr.
Green was first elected to the Senate in 2012, beating incumbent Democrat Tim Barnes, who is now an elected judge in Montgomery County. The District 22 seat had been long held by Democrats until moving to the Republican column like much of the state in recent election cycles.. Rosalind Kurita held the seat before Barnes.