TNDP chair enters bona fide battle over former Shelby chair

Tennessee Democratic Chair Mary Mancini says Bryan Carson, former Shelby County Democratic Party chairman, is still a bona fide Democrat despite a vote to the contrary by the Shelby County Democratic Party’s executive committee.

Further from the Commercial Appeal:

Mancini said the resolution declaring Carson “not fit” to seek office on the Democratic ticket and not a “bona fide Democrat” circumvented the process laid out in state party bylaws for officially revoking Democratic credentials. The party’s vote follows internal strife in the SCDP over how to handle bookkeeping errors during Carson’s tenure that some members say amounts to his embezzling more than $25,000.

She said Democratic bona fides — which are necessary to have “Democrat” next to a candidate’s name on a ballot — can only be revoked if the person is a candidate and if they haven’t voted in three of the previous five Democratic primary elections. Neither applies to Carson, she said.

“Until he’s on the ballot, there’s no grounds for a challenge, for his bona fides as a Democrat to be taken away,” Mancini said.

The bottom line: The resolution “just doesn’t mean anything,” she said.

“Mary Mancini can go straight to hell,” said Del Gill, who was elected Thursday as second vice chair, the party’s No. 3 position. “She’s quite disrespectful to the largest Democratic Party in the state — and the blackest.”

Gill, who sponsored the resolution Thursday, said the action was a pre-emptive measure to let Carson know the party will challenge him if he seeks public office in the future, even though the resolution is worded as revoking his bona fides.

More than a year of bad blood between some members of the party and Carson contributed to the 14-5 adoption of the resolution. The party in June approved a separate resolution to seek criminal charges against Carson, after which Gill filed an embezzlement complaint against Carson with Memphis police.