Longtime Memphis lawmaker DeBerry removed from Democratic ballot by state party

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Rep. John DeBerry (D-Memphis)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Tennessee Democratic Party’s executive committee on Wednesday voted to remove state Rep. John DeBerry from the party’s 2020 primary ballot.

DeBerry has served in his House District 90 seat in Memphis since he was elected in 1994. He is allowed to appeal the party’s decision.

State Democrats did not elaborate on why committee members voted 41-18, with two abstaining, to remove DeBerry from the August primary ballot. But DeBerry has drawn criticism from fellow Democrats for frequently voting with Republicans on several issues, including school vouchers and the “fetal heartbeat bill.”

“After a long meeting in which we heard challenges and evidence, we did what we thought was best to protect the Tennessee Democratic Party and the values we stand for,” Tennessee Democratic Party chair Mary Mancini said in a statement.

DeBerry responded to the vote in a statement, in which he thanked supporters for his time in the legislature.

“The Tennessee Democratic Party has decided that a 26-year Representative that spent 12 years as a committee chairman, conducted himself with integrity, served the party well, sponsored meaningful legislation and built bridges across the aisle to get bills passed is no longer a Democrat,” DeBerry said.

“And so, I’m not. I’m appreciative to all the folk who have supported me through my time in Legislature and want to give them my thanks.”

Four other candidates for office were also removed from the Democratic ballot by the committee’s vote.

They are William Frazier, who filed for Tennessee State House District 84; Michael Minnis, who filed for Tennessee State House District 93; Tharon Chandler, who filed for United States Senate; and another Memphis candidate, M. Latroy Alexandria-Williams, who filed for the 9th District U.S. Congress seat.

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