Category Archives: Democratic Party

TN Clinton delegate ejected for ‘assault’ on Sanders delegate

Jerry Ogle, a Hillary Clinton delegate from Monroe County, was removed from Tennessee’s delegation Tuesday morning after it was determined that he violated the party’s code of conduct agreement through inappropriate interaction with Amanda Kruel, a Bernie Sanders delegate.

Further from The Tennessean:

“Yesterday I was cheering for Bernie as many others were and there was a guy behind me who was making faces at me. There was one point where he grabbed me by the shoulder and he twisted me around and yelled in my face ‘Act like a Democrat,’ ” Kruel, who is from Knoxville, said while describing Ogle’s actions as “assault.”

Kruel said Ogle was angry because she was supporting Sanders.

“I told him don’t you care about freedom of speech — I’m just trying to be a Democrat,” she said Tuesday afternoon. “People are interrupting speeches to yell when they hear Hillary. Why is it wrong to interrupt speeches and yell when they hear Bernie?”

The incident in question occurred Monday shortly after the convention officially convened at 4:30 p.m.

After the interaction, Kruel said she reported it to Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman Mary Mancini, who confirmed Ogle’s removal from the delegation. Continue reading

More TN Democratic email fallout: Widow gets apology, Cohen wants firings

Longtime Knox County Democratic activist Sylvia Woods says Scott Comer, finance chief of staff for the Democratic National Committee, called her Tuesday to apologize for a “smart-aleck” comment he made about Woods’ dead husband in an email prior to a reception for outgoing DNC chair Debbie Wasserman-Schultz here in June.

Further from Georgiana Vines:

Woods said Comer, a 28-year-old Knoxvillian, contacted her after she let Ronald Allen, the DNC’s Southern regional director, know people were reaching out to her in a concerning way about the email, provided by WikiLeaks over the weekend.

Woods and her husband, Harold, long served on Knox County and state Democratic Party committees. Sylvia Woods is on the county board of governors representing a Democratic women’s club and on the state executive committee. She is attending the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as a member of the Platform Committee as a Hillary Clinton supporter and has obtained a floor pass to sit with the Tennessee delegation, she said.

Woods was reached by the News Sentinel as she boarded a bus to travel with the delegation from its hotel site in Valley Forge, Pa., to Philadelphia. She said Comer told her he would meet her at the convention site “and hug your neck just like Tennesseans do.”

The emails regarding the Knoxville reception were written after Sylvia Woods contacted Allen on learning of the event… Allen offered Woods two tickets. Woods told him she would be unable to attend and would appreciate a ticket for (Knox County Democratic Chairman Cameron) Brooks. Woods then mentioned she was using the iPad that had belonged to her husband, who died in 2014,.

… (In an email) Allen wrote to Comer, saying, “All good now and look at my well-crafted response lol! Can the Knox county chair come in her stead?”

“Of course!” Comer answered. “Glad she’s placated and using her dead husbands (sic) iPad.”

Brooks called Comer’s comments “embarrassing and mean.”

Woods agreed.

When Comer called Woods to apologize, “I gave him the motherly lesson,” she said. “Pay attention. You can hurt someone’s feelings. What he said was so unnecessary.” Continue reading

TN Sanders delegates not rowdy, but not happy either

From a Tennessean report on doings at the Democratic National Convention on Monday:

Tennessee was not among the delegations with large rowdy packs of Sanders loyalists.

…But Kristy Douglas, 27, a Sanders delegate from Jasper, Tenn., said she’s unsure whether she will vote for Clinton in November, though she also made clear she wouldn’t vote for Trump either. She was among those at an afternoon rally of around 1,900 in Philadelphia Monday who participated in a chorus of boos when the Vermont senator praised Clinton.

“We [feel] like it’s still not over yet,” Douglas said. She noted several pending lawsuits pertaining to the primary process, uncounted ballots in California in addition to the latest email scandal and Clinton’s vice presidential pick Sen. Tim Kaine who she called “unprogressive.”

“I don’t think Hillary wants our support and she’s not going to get it,” Douglas said. “There’s a lot of angry people out there that feel this was stolen from us.”

…Laurie Dworak, a 52-year-old Sanders delegate from Chattanooga, was not among the Sanders backers who booed during Monday’s rally. But she said she understands why some did, likening their expression to an opportunity to provide catharsis for the contentious race or booing the coach of an opposing football team.

She’s among the Sanders supporters who say she will vote for Clinton in the general election. She also predicted that the majority of her fellow Sanders supporters would eventually back Clinton as well.

“It’s more an expression of frustration,” Dworak said of the booing. “Nobody wants to lose and right now it feels as if we’ve lost.

“When the coach mentions the opposing team, you’re going to boo,” she said. Continue reading

DNC staff fretted over Sanders supporter in Knoxville event

Some of the Democratic National Committee emails revealed by Wikileaks deal with internal debate over whether to allow an East Tennessee Bernie Sanders supporter to attend a private Knoxville event in June for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, reports Georgiana Vines.

The emails show Amanda Kruel, currently a Sanders delegate at the Democratic National Convention, was vetted was vetted at some length prior to the DNC fundraiser. She was a Sanders field organizer at the time.

“I did not realize that and to my knowledge I was the only one vetted that way,” Kruel said in a brief telephone interview with the News Sentinel in between meetings in Philadelphia on Monday.

…At the fundraiser at the home of Leanne and Rusty Comer in Deane Hill, Kruel was with a group of demonstrators at the subdivision’s gated entrance prior to the event, for which she had paid $50 to attend. When it was time for the event, she went by car. A security person told her she couldn’t go into the gated community with Bernie Sanders materials in the car and she said she told him, “I always have Bernie stuff in my car.” She eventually was admitted.

At the fundraiser, attended by about 40 people, Kruel said she had an opportunity to talk with Wasserman Schultz and they posed for a picture together, which she had as her Facebook picture on Monday.

Kruel said she had the feeling Wasserman Schultz had been warned about who she was but the conversation was cordial.

“There wasn’t any incivility,” she said.

…The emails show that staff discussed denying Kruel admission to the Deane Hill event and refunding her money. They allowed her to attend for fear of unfavorable publicity.

The email quoted DNC chief financial officer Brad Marshall as saying, “on further thought, Kruel could turn this back on us and say she was denied attendance by the big bad establishment.”

The emails also show that the Knox County Democratic Party was not heavily involved in the event until longtime activist Sylvia Woods asked that Cameron Brooks, the county party chairman, be invited to take her place since she would be out of town.

Kruel told the Washington Examiner that knowing what she knows now, she wonders if a man in the background of the picture of her and Waserman Schultz wasn’t a security person.

“I joked after the event that he seemed to have been ‘assigned’ to me, as he was never far from me. That joke may have been a fact,” she said.

Transgender Tennessean to keep Democrats timely

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — The first transgender person to be named to a Tennessee government board or commission has been named the official podium timekeeper at the Democratic National Convention.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry appointed Marisa Richmond to the Metro Human Relations Commission in May. Richmond is a Nashville resident, a professor in the history department at Middle Tennessee State University and former president of the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

State Democratic Party Chair Mary Mancini said Monday that she was thrilled by Richmond’s selection for the timekeeping role. Mancini said Richmond has been “one of the strongest advocates for the LGBTQ community in Tennessee and across the country for many years.”

The 17-member commission in Nashville oversees the human relations department, which is tasked with resolving discrimination complaints and carrying out educational programs.

News release from Tennessee Democratic Party:
Philadelphia, Pa (July 25 2016) — The Chair of the State Democrats (Mary Mancini) comments on the selection of Tennessean, Marisa Richmond, as the official podium timekeeper at the Democratic National Convention.

“I am thrilled that Hillary for America and the DNC have chosen a great leader, advocate and Tennessean to be the official podium timekeeper. Marisa has been one of the strongest advocates for the LGBTQ community in Tennessee and across the country for many years. She is a shining example of what makes Tennessee and the Democratic Party the Party of the people.”

Al Gore skips Democratic convention, backs Clinton

Former Vice President Al Gore will not be attending this week’s Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia despite being a Tennessee superdelegate, reports The Tennessean. But he’s officially endorsing Hillary Clinton.

Gore, a Tennessee superdelegate who did not endorse a candidate during the recent Democratic primary, announced in a statement that he will vote for Clinton in the November race against Republican Donald Trump.

“I am not able to attend this year’s Democratic convention, but I will be voting for Hillary Clinton,” Gore said in the statement. “Given her qualification and experience — and given the significant challenges facing our nation and the world, including, especially, the global climate crisis — I encourage everyone else to do the same.”

Gore’s pledge of support for Clinton came one day after the Tennessean reported that Gore would not be attending this year’s DNC convention in Philadelphia. He did not attend the 2012 convention either after making speaking appearances at both the 2008 and 2004 conventions.

A spokeswoman for Gore has said the former vice president has “obligations in Tennessee” that have prevented him from being able to attend the convention. She declined to comment on what they are.

Notes on TN Democrats headed to convention (mayors prominent)

From a News Sentinel pre-convention story:

“We’re going to be the grown-ups that have a helpful and optimistic message for America, versus the slander and negative campaign that we saw this week for the Republicans,” Knox County Democratic Party Chairman Cameron Brooks said Thursday. “We are much more unified than they are right now.”

… In contrast to Trump’s acceptance speech, which portrayed a country with porous borders beset by enemies worldwide, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, a delegate for presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton, said she hopes to hear language of a more palliative, uplifting nature from Democrats this week.

“We all have to tone down the rhetoric,” Rogero said. “We have to talk about issues where a nonpartisan mayor or partisan state-level and federal-level people, can work together to get the job done.”

She said she hopes to hear constructive voices.

“Try to use language that doesn’t intimidate or upset,” she said. “We should try to frame issues in a way that avoids conflict. … What’s the common goal or the common interest? … I think you can accomplish much more when you share the common language and common goals.”

… Another Clinton delegate from Knoxville, Paul Witt… compared the GOP convention to a car wreck.

“It’s been a mess, which is great,” he said. “I think our side will be more unified around (Clinton) than the Republicans will be around Trump.”

Mayors in the lead

The Tennessean observes that four Democratic mayors will be delegates to the Democratic National Convention – Rogero, Nashville’s Megan Barry, Chattanooga’s Andy Berke and Clarksville’s Kim McMillan – that this shows the prominence and importance of big city mayors in party politics now that they are in minority status. (Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is a Democrat but not attending the convention.)

Barry, who introduced presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during two Clinton campaign stops in Nashville during the primary, will be in Philadelphia for the entire four-day event. She said Clinton “gets the impact” that cities contribute to the nation’s economy and would be an ally on efforts she wants to accomplish in Nashville.

“My hope is that we’ll continue to have the same type of relationship with her that we’ve had with Obama’s administration on infrastructure and transit and other things,” said Barry, a Clinton delegate.

… As Democrats look for a candidate who can compete for an open governor’s race and U.S. Senate in 2018, eyes turn first to two men who came from the mayoral ranks – former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and Berke. Dean has been open about a run and has attended speaking engagements across the state to increase his political network. Berke has said he’s focused on only being mayor for now.

Sunday column: On TN bipartisan party dysfunction

When Tennessee Democratic Chair Mary Mancini recently ordered the settlement of a Shelby County Democratic Party squabble over financial mismanagement, her Republican counterpart, Ryan Haynes, promptly issued a press release denouncing “Democrat dysfunction.”

“Instead of taking responsibility and cleaning up the mess, the TNDP wants to ignore the problem in the hope that it goes away. It’s part of a disturbing pattern for them: Democrat public officials do something wrong and their Party pretends nothing ever happened. It’s right out of the Hillary Clinton playbook and it spells disaster for them this fall in Tennessee.”

That followed, by a couple of weeks, a TNGOP news release — with the headline “Tennessee Democrats: Corrupt to the Core” — that recited a list of Democratic officeholders who have run afoul of the law, starting with former Gov. Ray Blanton in the 1970s and continuing to Rep. Joe Armstrong, D-Knoxville, who is facing trial on federal tax evasion charges. Continue reading

Shelby Democrats balk on deal with former chair

The Shelby County Democratic Party, on a 10-10 tie vote, failed to ratify chairman Michael Pope’s signing of a settlement with former chairman Bryan Carson, reports the Commercial Appeal. That may set up a vote in August to censure Pope.

The members of the party’s executive committee hotly debated parliamentary procedure for much of the raucous meeting, which lasted until late into the evening, leading some to walk out.

Del Gill, an SCDP executive committee member who was defeated by Pope in the chairmanship election June 2, circulated a resolution Thursday that said Pope overruled the committee in violation of the party’s bylaws when he signed a $6,000 settlement to resolve a dispute between the party and Carson over Carson’s handling of party finances as chairman.

The resolution wasn’t proposed at the meeting, but Gill said he’ll make the motion at the next meeting Aug. 11.

Pope said the meeting went “well,” but that the vote didn’t change the fact that the settlement is on the books and Carson has already paid the first of his $100-per-month payments.

“As far as the settlement, it’s done,” he said.

Pope was ordered to sign the settlement by state party chairwoman Mary Mancini in a June 24 letter, but didn’t receive approval from the executive committee before signing it on June 27.

At the heart of the disagreement is a committee vote early this year to offer Carson a $6,000 settlement, although the settlement wasn’t agreed to then. The committee voted 14-7 on June 2 to approve a resolution accusing Carson of embezzling $25,000 or more and endorsing criminal charges. Gill then filed charges with Memphis police against Carson.

Gill’s resolution argues Pope didn’t have the authority to settle without another vote by the executive committee, and calls for him to sign the resolution censoring him or face “disciplinary considerations.”

In a letter to the executive committee Wednesday, Rep. Joe Towns Jr., on behalf of the committee he chairs in the Shelby County Democratic Legislative Caucus, said the settlement is “legally binding” and “must be adhered to in order to prevent additional negative attention and financial exposure to the local party.” Towns did not immediately respond to a phone call Thursday.

Mancini orders Shelby Democrats to settle with former chair

From the Commercial Appeal:
Tennessee Democratic Party chairwoman Mary Mancini issued an ultimatum Friday to the Shelby County Democratic Party: Forget bringing criminal charges against former chairman Bryan Carson and agree to a settlement with him — or else.

At Mancini’s direction, SCDP chairman Michael Pope then signed a $6,000 settlement with Carson, who was accused by the SCDP executive committee in a June 2 resolution of embezzling more than $25,000. Carson said Tuesday he already made his first $100 payment.

“Hopefully this directive will settle everything,” said Carson, who denies the accusations but acknowledges he should have kept better records of expenses. He said the embezzling accusations were the result of “malicious underlings” within the party.

But signing the settlement was a controversial move that will likely be opposed at the SCDP executive committee meeting July 7, although whether the committee can nullify the settlement is a disputed point between the party’s factions.

“They don’t have the authority to do that,” Del Gill, an executive committee member who supports legal action, said of Mancini’s directive.

“So, she can go to hell,” he added.

In her letter, Mancini said the party’s bylaws and state law gave her authority to issue the ultimatum, but she didn’t cite specific provisions.

Mancini wrote that pursuing criminal charges would send the party “down a path of further deterioration” at a time of internal “dysfunction” and following a $10,000 penalty June 8 for a late campaign finance filing. She also implied the state party could take action if a settlement wasn’t signed by July 1.

…Gill said he filed a criminal complaint with the Memphis Police Department on June 16, and doesn’t plan to drop the complaint — whatever Mancini says. The investigation is still in its infancy, he added.

…”They’re playing with pure fire, and it won’t work,” he said. “She’s not going to win.”