- Associated Press - Tuesday, November 14, 2017

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. (AP) - Songwriter Lee Thomas Miller announced Tuesday that he is joining the race for the Republican nomination to succeed Rep. Marsha Blackburn in Congress.

Miller has written songs for Trace Adkins, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Jamey Johnson and Chris Stapleton. The three-time Grammy nominee is the son of a Kentucky tobacco farmer and a small town librarian who lives in Brentwood with his wife Jana and four children.

“I’ve been writing the stories of real Americans for as long as I can remember,” Miller said in a release. “I give a voice to those who cannot find the words they are looking for. I give a voice to those who are not being heard.”

Blackburn is giving up her House seat representing suburban Nashville to run for the U.S. Senate.

Miller’s campaign announcement describes him as “a leader in the culture wars,” citing his involvement in a group called Praying Parents that clashed with the American Civil Liberties Union over prayer at their children’s elementary school.

State Sen. Mark Green of Ashland City is the only other Republican so far to file to run in the 7th District. Green earlier this year withdrew as President Donald Trump’s nominee for Army secretary amid bipartisan opposition. The former Army doctor dropped out of the governor’s race before deciding to run for Congress after Blackburn’s Senate announcement.

Green’s campaign said it is “ready for the fight” in the primary.

“Tennesseans want a warrior who understands the dynamics of our economy, the gravity of the threats facing the world, someone who has created jobs, taken care of patients, deployed to combat and fought for conservative values,” Green said in a statement.

Green critics have been quick to point out that the senator has declined to say whether he still supports Alabama Republican Roy Moore’s candidacy for the U.S. Senate following allegations of sexual misconduct with teenagers. Green’s campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Miller’s appearance on a liberal comedian Sarah Silverman’s new Hulu show earlier this month also raised eyebrows among some conservatives.

Miller joined Silverman on “I Love You, America,” to help her write and perform country song at Nashville’s Bluebird Cafe.

Tennessee’s primary elections are scheduled for Aug 2.

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