Democrats Want Better Vetting; Clayton Wants Obama Support

Some developments on the Mark Clayton front, as reported by Andy Sher.
Jim Bilbo, of Cleveland, a member of the Democratic Party’s Executive Committee and chairman of the party’s bylaws panel, vowed in a news release to improve the candidate review process.
“We owe it to Democratic supporters, candidates and volunteers to enact reforms so that extreme candidates who don’t represent our core Democratic, middle-class values may never take advantage of our open elections again,” he said.
Meanwhile, Clayton held a news conference Tuesday and denied that Public Advocate of the United States is a “hate group.”
“Nobody that I know in this country … or anybody who’s ever be associated with any of the campaigns, would ever want to hurt somebody who’s gay,” he said. “We just want to help protect traditional values so that moms and dads can raise families in difficult and uncertain times.”
He declared that “Mark Clayton does not belong to a hate group. Mark Clayton belongs to a love group.”
Clayton is now asking Democratic President Barack Obama to invite him to the Democratic National Convention and give him a speaking slot to address delegates.
But Clayton acknowledged he didn’t vote for Obama in 2008 — he said he voted for a third-party candidate — and has yet to decide whether he will vote for Obama now. He urged Obama to renounce his recent support for gay marriage, saying many Democrats and others are upset over Obama’s move.
“I’m very close to voting for Obama this time,” he said. “But like many supporters, we want President Obama to come home and be for traditional marriage between a man and a woman.”
He also lashed out at Forrester, noting that “despite reports to the contrary,” the chairman “is not the Democratic Party.” If Forrester “continues to act against party rules and fight an elected nominee, then we’re going to have to go for his resignation,” Clayton said.

Note: Bilbo’s news release is below.

News release from Jim Bilbo:
TNDP Executive Committee member Jim Bilbo, chairman of the by-laws committee, pledged today that the state Party’s Executive Committee would fix the candidate review process that allowed an extreme candidate who is not a Democrat on the ballot.
“We are committed to reforms that make candidate vetting more proactive and more transparent so that we can prevent candidates who are not Democrats from ever getting on the Democratic ballot in the future,” said Bilbo.
State law requires that candidates in Democratic and Republican primaries be bona fide members of the political party whose election they seek. Bilbo, an attorney in Bradley County, says both parties have a legal obligation to ensure that those who appear on primary election ballots are approved by the party.
“We have already begun our review of the process that failed us this year and nearly failed us in the past, and we pledge to fix it,” Bilbo said. “We owe it to Democratic supporters, candidates and volunteers to enact reforms so that extreme candidates who don’t represent our core Democratic, middle class values may never take advantage of our open elections again.”
GOINS PLAYING POLITICS RATHER THAN RUNNING CLEAN, FAIR ELECTIONS: TNDP by-laws do not give the chairman unilateral authority to strip a candidate of their “bona fide” credentials. A county party must challenge the bona fides of a candidate and bring the challenge to the executive committee. From Goins’ letter: “In the event that at a county party … challenges a candidate for any office be it local, county, state or federal, against appearing on the ballot as a Democrat … the challenge shall be referred to the County Party Development Committee which shall by a simple majority vote of the members make a recommendation to the State Party Chair.”

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