Tag Archives: clayton

Mark Clayton Sues TNDP

Mark Clayton, the out-of-nowhere candidate who won the 2012 U.S. Senate Democratic primary election and was promptly disavowed by the Tennessee Democratic Party, has sued the party and dozens of its officials, according to The Tennessean.

In a lawsuit filed this week, Clayton says party leaders, including then-Chairman Chip Forrester, “constructively voided his primary victory by publicly stating that they disavowed him as the nominee, that he was not really the party nominee and that he was not really a Democrat and generally treating his nomination as if it did not happen.”
Gerard Stranch, an attorney for the Tennessee Democratic Party, said the suit “is clearly without merit” and that the party would be filing a motion to dismiss it. He declined to elaborate.

Clayton, whose name was first on the ballot, won the seven-candidate primary by a landslide on Aug. 2, 2012. His victory stunned and embarrassed Democratic officials, who had failed to recruit a more formidable contender.

The state party quickly disassociated itself from Clayton, saying he had rarely voted for anyone but himself in Democratic primaries and that he belonged to an anti-gay hate group, Public Advocate of the United States. The party urged voters to write in any other name during the general election in November.

…The lawsuit, filed in Davidson County Circuit Court, says officials forcibly removed Clayton from party headquarters when he asked to review records last October and that they made false and misleading statements about him.

It asks that they be found in violation of state law, fined $500 each and charged with court costs and “reasonable attorney fees.”

Note: A news release/statement sent by Clayton to media is below.
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Democratic Party’s Disavowal of Clayton Didn’t Work

Voters in heavily Democratic Memphis and Nashville didn’t necessarily get the memo about U.S. Senate candidate Mark Clayton being disavowed by the Democratic party, observes Michael Cass.
Clayton won Shelby County, home of Memphis, by more than 28,000 votes over Bob Corker, the Republican incumbent. He racked up 105,432 votes in Davidson County, losing to Corker by fewer than 6,000 votes.
Some observers said Clayton, who was working for a moving company at the time of his primary victory, was an unknown quantity to most voters. They said he benefited from Democratic turnout for President Barack Obama, who lost the state to Republican Mitt Romney by 20 percentage points but easily carried Davidson and Shelby counties.
“Don’t read anything else into it,” said Van Turner, chairman of the Shelby County Democratic Party for the past three years and an attorney in Memphis. “Shelby County is a yellow-dog Democratic county. We’re going to support the Democrat in most instances.”
John Geer, a professor of political science at Vanderbilt University, said many voters had “never heard of Clayton one way or the other.”
Geer said there also were Democrats who couldn’t bring themselves to push the button for Corker, “even though he obviously was in some sense probably even more representative of Democratic views than Clayton.
“You have two of the most Democratic counties,” Geer said. “It’s no surprise.”

See also Wendi C. Thomas’ column on Clayton:
Wasn’t it the party’s job to give Democrats their marching orders: Write in Big Bird if you want, but don’t vote for Clayton?
Not necessarily, asserted Forrester, who wrote in actor Ashley Judd, a faithful Democrat.
“There’s another way of looking at it — voters have a responsibility to educate themselves about candidates,” said Forrester, who isn’t seeking a third term as chairman.
“Obviously, people did not do their homework.”
Good try, but that (yellow) dog won’t hunt.
“That’s a good way for him to try to pin the blame on someone else, but he’s the head of the party, and the bucks stops there,” said Susan Adler Thorp, a political consultant and former political columnist for The Commercial Appeal.
“In politics, you can’t assume that someone else knows something.”

Mark Clayton’s ‘Victory’ Statement

News release from Mark Clayton campaign:
Mark Clayton is out thanking Democrats who turned out in large numbers in a mandate to restore democracy to our party. With 83% of the votes in from Tennessee Democrats, 655,438, an overwhelming majority of Democrats have now voted for Mark Clayton in the race against the unelected bosses who waged a write-in campaign their own duly nominated leader with unauthorized party resources. Mark Clayton will continue to defend Democrats from unelected bosses and is calling for hearings into the integrity of voting rights in Tennessee when the General Assembly convenes next year.
By calling Democrats “too stupid” to vote and attacking democracy, the unelected bosses drove swing and independent voters from our party and cost Democrats their chance to unseat Bob Corker. We call for the immediate resignation of unelected party bosses in the Tennessee Democratic Party. The people of Tennessee tonight have clearly demanded that Democrats never again be subjugated to bosses who are not elected by Democrats.

MTSU Tennessee Poll: Romney 59, Obama 34; Corker 59, Clayton 21

Republican Mitt Romney leads President Obama by 25 points in Tennessee, according to a new Middle Tennessee State University poll.
The telephone poll of 650 registered voters, conducted Oct. 16-21, found Romney supported by 59 percent versus just 34 percent for the Democratic incumbent with 6 percent undecided.
That would be substantially larger than Republican John McCain’s 15-point victory, 56-41 percent, in Tennessee’s 2008 presidential voting. It is also bigger margin for Romney than in earlier Tennessee this year. A Vanderbilt University poll in May had Romney leading 47-40 percent while a YouGov poll earlier in October had Romney leading 52-43 percent.
The MTSU poll showed 61 percent of those surveyed were white evangelical voters and, among such voters, Romney leads Obama 74-21 percent.
Only 12 percent of those surveyed were black. Among them, Obama had 91 percent support, MTSU reported.
n the U.S. Senate race, the poll found incumbent Republican Bob Corker leading Democrat Mark Clayton, who has been disavowed by his own party, by a 59 percent to 21 percent in the poll with about 12 percent undecided.

The full MTSU news release is below.

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Mark Clayton: ‘Absurbist Coda to a Long Democratic Disaster’

The headline on a Washington Post story, datelined Whites Creek, Tenn., suggests that Mark Clayton may be “2012’s worst candidate.” It begins like this:
The Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate in Tennessee has no campaign headquarters, a fundraising drive stuck at $278 and one yard sign. Not one type of yard sign. One sign.
And with the election just days away, he has not actually put that sign in a yard. Instead, it resides inside candidate Mark Clayton’s pickup. “VOTE FOR,” the sign says. The rest is hidden by the seats.
“Jesus did not have a campaign staff. And he had the most successful campaign in human history,” Clayton said recently, when asked if all this adds up to a winning run against incumbent Sen. Bob Corker (R). Jesus “didn’t even have pictures or a Web site.”
This may be America’s worst candidate.
Clayton, 36, is a part-time flooring installer, an indulger in conspiracy theories — and for Democrats here, the living personification of rock bottom. In a state that produced Democratic icons including Andrew Jackson and both Al Gores, the party has fallen so far that it can’t even run a good loser.
Instead, it has this guy. In Tennessee, Clayton’s unlikely run is providing an absurdist coda to a long Democratic disaster. Something like falling down a flight of stairs onto a whoopee cushion.
“It’s pretty sad. I mean, when your nomination is not worth having, that’s embarrassing,” said Will T. Cheek, a Nashville investor who has been a member of the state Democratic Party’s executive committee since 1970. “That would appear to be where we are.”

AP Story on Corker vs. Clayton

By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Mark Clayton’s biggest strength as the candidate
who won the Democratic nomination to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Bob
Corker next month might be that he’s an optimist.
Despite being disavowed by the Democratic Party for his role in an
anti-gay hate group and not raising enough money to meet the Federal
Election Commission’s reporting limit of $5,000, Clayton insists he has
a real chance of defeating Corker, whose recent FEC figures show he has
raised $11.5 million and has more than $6 million on hand.
When asked why he’s optimistic, Clayton recently told The Associated
Press: “Money does not necessarily mean votes.”
“We are definitely going to be in the game,” he said. “We are going to
get out to enough voters to be competitive with Bob Corker.”
Wishful thinking? The little-known candidate points to a slightly
successful political track record.
In 2008, he ran for the Senate as a Democrat and collected just more
than 32,000 votes, finishing fourth. In August, Clayton reported raising
no money and campaigned little yet received more than 48,000 votes,
twice the number of his nearest competitor in the seven-candidate
Democratic primary. That same month, a federal judge sided with Clayton
in a lawsuit brought by another Democratic candidate who sought to
remove Clayton from the November ballot.

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Clayton Says Confident Corker ‘Posting Negative Ads for Himself’

Six years ago this month, Bob Corker was huddling in a limousine in Memphis with President George W. Bush and Bush adviser Karl Rover, glumly eyeing polling showing Corker losing the U.S. Senate race to Democrat Harold Ford.
Fuirther from Action Andy’s report on the U.S. Senate campaign:
“We got in this long, black limo, and we all knew I was going to lose the race, and you talk about a depressing ride,” Corker recalled last week to Nashville Chamber of Commerce members.
But instead, the Republican former Chattanooga mayor eked out a 51-48 percent victory over Ford in Tennessee’s most expensive Senate race on record — the two candidates raised more than $33 million all told, according to the Federal Election Commission.
Fast-forward to October 2012 and Corker is merrily chugging along, his re-election campaign almost on autopilot.
His Democratic opponent is Mark Clayton, 36, whose candidacy has been disavowed by state Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester for what Forrester called his “extreme” views on gay issues such as same-sex marriage.
So how confident is Corker about this election?
Well, right now he’s stumping not through Tennessee but the Middle East, on a Senate fact-finding trip.
…Clayton couldn’t be happier with Corker’s decision to go out of the country.
“We’re not going to Washington, D.C., to be a special person, fly around to different countries and forget Tennessee,” Clayton said. “We couldn’t ask him to campaign against himself any better by doing what he’s doing. … He doesn’t realize he’s posting negative ads for himself.”
Declaring he is running the “quintessential grass-roots campaign,” Clayton said he is making “practically no-budget commercials” for the Web and contacting voters directly on the Internet.

Mark Clayton Campaigns Against Chip Forrester

Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mark Clayton, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, calls for an investigation into whether state Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester “and other Tennessee Democratic Party bosses” violated the federal Voting Rights Act Rights Act by disavowing his win in the Aug. 2 primary.
The proposition seems to be that, since many minority voters supported Clayton in the primary, their votes were compromised by the disavowal of Clayton as the party nominee.
Clayton was joined in signing the letter by Bishop Felton M. Smith, senior pastor of New Covenant Fellowship Church of God in Christ in Nashville, who – based on Internet media reports – previously joined a group of black ministers opposing re-election of President Obama because of his support for same-sex marriage.
Clayton and Smith signed the letter at a news conference, which apparently was poorly attended based on a Google check for coverage. In an email, Clayton advises:
There would have been more leaders present and more signers to the letter, but the action was taken on short notice. Democrats want voter protection from the self-appointed state party bosses. There is deep and growing support for the investigation effort which will continue indefinitely as a voting rights issue beyond any particular political campaign. We feel that Attorney General Holder will do the right thing. If not, we will push for congressional hearings in Washington.
The letter is below.

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TN Dems Have Mark Clayton; MS Dems Have Al Gore

Tennessee isn’t the only Southern state where Democrats have had difficulties in coming up with a credible candidate for statewide office, observes the Tennessean.
While Tennessee Democrats have disowned and vowed not to support nominee Mark Clayton of Whites Creek in the U.S. Senate race — due to his views on gays and his association with an anti-gay group — their Alabama counterparts took an even more drastic step with one of their candidates.
The Democratic Party there disqualified its nominee for chief justice of the state Supreme Court because of comments he made online about the Republican nominee, accusing him of having “dementia” and being “a devil worshipper.” Party officials felt the comments were improper for a judicial nominee. It just so happened the Democratic nominee in question, Harry Lyon, also had a long history of entering and losing Alabama political races.
And in Mississippi, Democrats are relying on an 82-year-old to fill a ballot spot opposite incumbent Republican Sen. Roger Wicker. His name is Albert N. Gore Jr., who the Mississippi League of Women voters says is a distant cousin to Al Gore, the former Democratic vice president and U.S. senator from Tennessee.
Gore told National Public Radio that someone younger should be making the race but “they didn’t want to fight.”
“The lack of even qualified Democrats is really becoming a problem (in the South). More and more Republicans are running unopposed,” said Steve Borrelli, political analyst at the University of Alabama.

TN Poll: Romney by 7 Points; Corker by 2-to-1

Mitt Romney holds a seven-point lead over Barack Obama in Tennessee while Bob Corker has an almost two-to-one lead over Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Mark Clayton, according to a poll of 789 registered Tennessee voters by YouGov, a market research company, conducted Sept. 7-14..
An excerpt from the YouGov news release:
Partisan loyalty is strong on both sides, as 91% of Democrats are sticking with Obama and 90% of Republicans are voting for Romney.
Independents are leaning heavily towards Romney, 54% for Romney and 28% for Obama.
Women favor Obama by 47%-44%, while men favor Romney by 55%-36%.
Obama has a strong lead in Memphis/ West (62%-32%), and all other regions currently favor Mitt Romney.
Older voters age 65+ favor Romney (69%-26%). All those under age 45 favor Obama, with the youngest age 18-29 (52%-37%) and those age 30-44 (51%-38%) producing similar results.
Incumbent Republican Senator Bob Corker holds a 49%-25% lead over Democratic Senate challenger Mark Clayton.
Voters in Tennessee lean slightly in favor of Republicans in contests for the U.S. House, with 41% intending to vote for the Republican candidate for the House in their district, and 37% for the Democrat. The poll was conducted online September 7-14, 2012.