(Memphis) The U.S. Senate race between incumbent Republican Bob Corker.. and his opponent Democrat Mark Clayton is getting more attention due to a controversy with the Democrat candidate.
Clayton’s campaign has been “disavowed” by the State Democratic Party.
That action left the party without a candidate.
Van Turner is Chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party, “I’ve never heard of him. I didn’t know him prior to this election. He never came to any of our local party meetings.”
He says Mark Clayton was never on the political radar in west Tennessee, a matter that now seems insignificant.
Mark Clayton says his victory in the Democratic primary was a mandate from the people of Tennessee, “Politics is about getting the warm bodies to the polls. And our team brought the most people.”
But Clayton’s victory in the Tennessee Democratic primary was “bittersweet” after he was “disavowed” by the state’s Democratic Party hours after winning.
State Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester said voters should throw their support behind someone else, “We encourage them to vote for anyone but Mark Clayton.”
Forrester learned Clayton is vice-president for an organization called the “Public Advocate of the United States.”
The organization is classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Forrester says that’s not what the Party want’s to identify with, “There’s bigotry and there’s just no way that we can have a nominee that will receive the support of the Tennessee Democratic Party who espouses those kind of values.”
But Clayton, from Nashville, said his platform reflects the concerns of his supporters, “The two positions are abortion and gay marriage. And that doesn’t sell well with Democratic voters in Tennessee.”
Van Turner says the whole “Mark Clayton” matter left Shelby County Democrats frustrated, “I would be more embarrassed if we knew what this guy was all about and he still was elected. And I would be thinking you know, ‘oh my god! what’s going on with Democrats.”
And while Clayton’s name will still appear on the November ballot, Shelby County Republican Party Chairman Justin Joy, says he’s not expected to have any impact on Senator Corker’s re-election bid, “Re-elected overwhelmingly. And quite frankly I think that he would be, regardless, at this point.”