The Ticket

Tennessee Democrats reject U.S. Senate nominee Mark Clayton

The Ticket

Last Thursday, Democrat Mark Clayton won his party's nomination for U.S. Senate in Tennessee, but Democrats aren't celebrating.

From the state party:

Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November.

The party said in a statement last week that the only time the insurance agent has voted in a Democratic primary "was when he was voting for himself" and that Clayton won simply because he was listed first on the ballot.

Clayton, whose website displayed "bandwith limit exceeded" error messages Monday, has worked for Public Advocate of the United States, a conservative group that opposes same-sex marriage, the "furtherance of so-called 'Gay Rights,'" according to its website, and abortion rights legislation, among other initiatives.

In the wake of Clayton's repudiation by Democrats, the organization defended itself and Clayton, stating that the candidate has "actively opposed every Republican nominee for President during his adult life."

Early Monday morning, Clayton began posting testimonials from "old friends" on his Facebook page. "While I'm not familiar with his political convictions I can tell you all this, Mark Clayton does not hate any person," Matt Crone said. The candidate credits his win to successful campaigning and his message.

His campaign called for the resignation of state Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester by close of business Monday. The party has rejected that call.

Clayton will face Republican Sen. Bob Corker this fall and is expected to lose handily.

The odd situation in Tennessee echoes the 2010 Senate race in South Carolina in which mystery Democratic candidate Alvin Greene shocked the political world by winning his party's nomination. The unemployed and unknown 32-year-old was accused of being a Republican plant, and the party considered overturning his election. But he remained in the race and soon drew significant national media attention, sparked talk of a movie and even action figures. But Republican Sen. Jim DeMint soundly defeated Greene in the fall.

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