MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Some political signs popping up around Memphis place a Tennessee legislator on the same team as President Donald Trump, but the candidate says he has nothing to do with them.
But DeBerry ran as a Democrat for years. In fact, he says he’s been a Democrat since 1968.
However, signs around town have DeBerry’s face next to the president, a Republican, with the words “Make America Great Again,” showing DeBerry aligned with Trump.
“To spread that vicious misnomer, and vicious deception, that I’m closer and cozier to the Republicans than anybody else, it is absolutely ridiculous,” DeBerry said.
DeBerry was voted out of the Democratic Party earlier this year after Memphis activist Janeita “Jan” Lentz filed a complaint.
She claims DeBerry “utilized his power of office to work against the constituents in which he serves undermining the voice of the people and the ‘vision’ of the Tennessee Democratic Party.”
The complaint goes on to claim DeBerry took donations from Republican PACS and was one of the only Democrats to vote in favor of the controversial school voucher bill and fetal heartbeat bill.
DeBerry said his views have not changed since he was first elected 26 years ago, and says his name is being slandered.
“I think the real tragedy here is not giving the voters the opportunity to say who a Democrat is and who a Democrat is not,” he said.
While he does not claim to be Republican, DeBerry admits he has worked with Republicans to get his bills passed.
“I can get a bill passed because I was a chair as a Democrat for 12 years. I treated Republicans with respect. I treated them with courtesy and they returned that to me,” DeBerry said.
“That’s the so-called coziness that you hear about me being with the Republicans, but every Democrat in Nashville, if they’re going to pass anything, they have to have the Republicans to vote for their bill.”
Harris, the challenger in the race, denied that anyone from his campaign is responsible for the signs.
“I don’t have the funds like he has, or that has been supported to him by the Republican side, to be able to do things like that. I don’t even have the energy or the time,” Harris said.