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Democrats Could Replace Clayton as U.S. Senate Nominee?

Tennessee Democrats legally could strike their controversial U.S. Senate nominee, anti-gay rights activist Mark Clayton, from the November ballot and replace him with another candidate, according to State Election Coordinator Mark Goins’ office.
From Action Andy’s story:
“The process requires one of the losing candidates to contest the election within that five-day window after certification,” said Blake Fontenay, a Goins spokesman, Friday.
“Then,” Fontenay said, “the party must decide if ‘justice and fairness’ make it necessary to set aside the election results.”
The decision could be made with the executive committee acting as the State Primary Board.
“If that decision is reached, then [the executive committee] could choose a new nominee,” Goins said.
Goins’ confirmation came after an attorney well versed in state election law earlier stated Democrats could indeed act if one of the six other candidates contested Clayton’s election. The attorney spoke on condition of not being quoted by name.
Goins, a Republican, previously has stated there is not adequate time between now and the general election for Democrats to seek a redo of Senate primary.
…Democratic Executive Committee member Jim Bilbo of Cleveland, an attorney and chairman of the party’s bylaws committee, said that despite the assertions of Goins, a Republican who cites state statutes, be believes the issue is far from clear based on court rulings.
In 2008, the state Democratic Party’s executive committee vacated the nomination of state Sen. Rosalind Kurita after she scraped by with a19-vote victory over Tim Barnes.
His attorneys alleged wide scale crossover voting by Republicans, who fielded no candidate, and charged Barnes supporters had been told to vote in the wrong primary. Kurita later ran as an independent and lost. She also filed suit against the party’s action. Just recently, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Democrats’ actions.
Bilbo recalled that when Democrats “went through all of that,” they were relying on one of two issues from a previous court ruling. They had to show either that there was some type of fraud committed. The second factor was “that there was so much going on that the outcome was uncertain.”
But Clayton won by 48,126 votes, more than double what Davis received.
“I don’t think that either one of those criteria exist in this case,” Bilbo said.

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.

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