From the Chattanooga TFP: State House District 26 Democratic candidate Larry G. Miller suspended his campaign Thursday because he is taking a job at the University of Texas at Austin.
Miller, who won the August primary, is scheduled to face House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick in the Nov. 6 general election.
“The reason I’m suspending the campaign is that I have a tremendous personal opportunity,” he said.
Miller will be the director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development.
Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Paul Smith said he’s contacting local officials to see if they can get another candidate on the ballot. “While we’re losing him in Hamilton County, we’re glad to share him with America,” Smith said.
By Lucas Johnson, Associated Press
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A federal judge on Thursday refused to void the Tennessee Democratic primary for U.S. Senate won by an anti-gay candidate the party has disavowed.
District Judge Kevin Sharp cited among the reasons for his refusal that the plaintiff, Larry Crim, was lacking certain filings and that there were errors in others. For instance, the Tennessee Division of Elections was named as a defendant instead of an individual, which should have been the election coordinator.
Sharp told Crim’s attorney, Michael Rowan, that once he got the proper items — such as a memorandum, affidavit and declarations — that he was welcome to file again.
“Before you can do anything, you have to follow the rules,” Sharp said.
Rowan, who acknowledged acting hastily in seeking an emergency ruling, told reporters after the hearing that he would talk to his client about how to proceed.
Crim sued the state Division of Elections and the Tennessee Democratic Party in trying to keep the winner of the Aug. 2 primary, Mark Clayton, off the November ballot.
NASHVILLE – A lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court today asks that the election of Mark Clayton as Democratic nominee to the U.S. Senate be voided because of “fraudulent acts” by state Democratic Party officials.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Larry Crim, one of the losing candidates in the Aug. 2 primary, says state Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester and other party officials knew that Clayton was not a “bona fide Democrat” but nonetheless took no steps to keep his name off the ballot, “thereby knowingly misleading” voters.
A spokeswoman for Mike Rowan, Crim’s attorney, says Judge Kevin Sharp is expected to hold a hearing promptly on whether to grant a request for a temporary injunction against certifying unofficial results of the election pending a full hearing on issues raised.
A hearing on the temporary injunction request was scheduled for Thursday.
“It appears to be a frivolous lawsuit,” said Brandon Puttbrese, spokesman for the state Democratic party.. Further comment for now, he said, would be left to party attorneys at Thursday’s hearing.
A draft copy of the lawsuit argues, in essence, that Forrester and other officials favored Park Overall in the Democratic primary wanted Clayton’s name on the ballot – listed first in alphabetical order – to draw votes from Crim, listed second alphabetically, in hopes that Overall would win the primary.
The state Democratic party disavowed Clayton a day after the primary, contending he was associated with “extremist” causes and a member an “anti-gay hate group.” Clayton is vice president of Public Advocate of the United States.
The lawsuit calls for a new Democratic U.S. Senate primary to be held by Sept. 15. State Election Coordinator Mark Goins, in a letter to Crim and his lawyer earlier, said there’s no provision for a new election in state law and that holding one would be virtually impossible because of other time deadlines built into state law.
Candidate Gary Davis finished second in the Aug. 2 unofficial results. Overall finished third in the voting and Crim fourth in the seven-candidate field.
— Note: A draft copy of the lawsuit is available by clicking on this link: CrimSenatePetition.pdf
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — There isn’t enough time to hold another primary following the state Democratic Party’s disavowal of its U.S. Senate nominee, State Election Coordinator Mark Goins said Tuesday.
The state party has said it rejects the vocally anti-gay platform of nominee Mark Clayton, who received nearly 50,000 votes, or twice the number of his nearest competitor in a field of seven little-known candidates to challenge incumbent Republican Sen. Bob Corker in November.
Goins, a former Republican state lawmaker, said in a letter to fourth-place finisher Larry Crim that state Democratic Party Chairman Chip Forrester could have disqualified Clayton within a week of the April 5 filing deadline.
“Although Chip Forrester had the authority in April to disqualify Mr. Clayton, he did not do so,” he wrote.
Goins said Crim wants the result overturned because Forrester had failed to properly vet the candidates.
“It is not within the state’s purview to determine whether Chip Forrester is adequately performing the duties assigned to him by the party,” Goins wrote.
It would be up to the party’s executive committee to evaluate a challenge on those grounds and to decide if “justice and fairness” require replacing Clayton as the nominee, he said.
Jim Bilbo, a member of the Democratic Party’s executive committee, said in a release that the panel would work 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,” said Bilbo, who is chairman of the panel’s by-laws committee.
Clayton, 35, is vice president of Falls Church, Va.-based Public Advocate of the United States. He denies assertions by the state Democratic Party and the Southern Poverty Law Center that the organization 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 at a news conference. “We just want to help protect traditional values, so that moms and dads can raise families in difficult and uncertain times.”
“Mark Clayton does not belong to a hate group,” he said. “Mark Clayton belongs to a love group.”
Clayton dismissed the actions of the Forrester and the state party.
“Chip Forrester, despite reports to the contrary, is not the Democratic Party,” he said. “He just has a job. He just needs to stay in his office and do his job.”
Clayton said he and his supporters may seek to have Forrester removed from office
“If he continues to act against party rules and fight an elected nominee, then we’re going to have to go for his resignation,” he said.
Clayton made an appeal to President Barack Obama to invite him to the Democratic National Convention, though he said he voted for a third-party candidate in 2008 and hasn’t decided whether to vote for the president in November.
“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.
The primary election is not expected to be certified until later this month. Goins said there isn’t enough time to hold another statewide contest because military ballots must be mailed by Sept. 22 for the general election.
The state Democratic Party’s executive committee in 2008 vacated the nomination of state Sen. Rosalind Kurita after her 19-vote victory. Her opponent’s attorneys had alleged wide scale crossover voting by Republicans and that his supporters had been told to vote in the wrong primary.
State Republicans in 2004 disavowed the nomination of a U.S. House candidate who espouses racist beliefs. In later contests the state GOP stripped him of his right to run as a Republican.
A losing candidate for Tennessee’s Democratic U.S. Senate nomination launched an effort Monday to have the election of the winner, Mark Clayton, thrown out because he is a member of a “hate group.”
Larry Crim, who finished fourth in Thursday’s seven-candidate field, met with State Election Coordinator Mark Goins Monday, then delivered letters to the state Democratic Party headquarters asking that Clayton be rejected and that a new primary election be conducted no later than Oct. 9.
Tennessee Democratic Party spokesman Sean Braisted said attorneys were reviewing the letter and wanted to research legal issues involved. The letter from Crim’s lawyer s a demands a reply by 3 p.m. Tuesday. (Note: Letter from Crim HERE; letter from Crim’s lawyer HERE.)
The party issued a statement Friday disavowing Clayton’s candidacy, saying he is “associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C.” Clayton is vice president of Public Advocate of the United States, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has classified as “a hate group” – a depiction disputed by Clayton and by the group.
State Democratic Chairman Chip Forrester said Friday that the party is simply asking voters to write-in a candidate of their choice in November’s election rather than vote for Clayton.
“That’s not a remedy at all – not for the candidates, not for the voters and not for the party,” said Crim.
(Note: If Clayton were off the ballot, Larry Crim would be at the top in alphabetical order. His proposal here amounts to calling a statewide special election — with, I think, the state party required to cover the cost — and likely won’t get much further than the news release phase. Here is the news release.) News release from Larry Crim campaign:
Larry Crim, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Tennessee’s August 2nd Primary, learned on Friday August 3rd that an unknown hate group leader Mark Clayton, who sneaked in as a democratic candidate on the ballot ahead of Crim, had hoodwinked the democratic party and voters taking the votes from top of the ballot positioning away from Crim and other bona fide Tennessee Democrats.
The democratic party’s discovery of the CLAYTON hate group association and his lack of democratic credentials was not until Clayton perpetrated a fraud on the party and voters by garnering top of ballot positioning and most votes on Thursday August 2, 2012.
The Tennessee Democratic Party has now said Clayton won exclusively because of being at the top of the ballot and has disavowed any association with Clayton because he is not a democrat and is an officer of a known
Based on that premise, the Larry Crim U.S. Senate campaign maintains Mr. Crim, who conducted a grass roots campaign mostly in Memphis and Nashville where he won more than any other candidate except Clayton, would have been the Democratic Elected Nominee on August 2nd since Crim would have also garnered the votes by topping the ballot but for Clayton’s fraudulent acts which caused Clayton’s name to be listed ahead of Crim.
Mr. Crim said: “The Tennessee Democratic Party has rightfully disavowed any and all association with Mr. Clayton, who is an officer and pawn of this extremist group seeking to infiltrate and dominate the democratic political
processes through such skullduggery in which Clayton and his group have engaged.”
Although all “bona fide democratic candidates were affected by Clayton’s actions”, said Crim, “our candidacy was especially impacted because the name of ‘Crim’ would have topped the ballot and reasonably garnered the nomination had this Clayton fraud not been on the ballot”.
Greg Johnson, conservative columnist who lives in Sevier County, takes a look at the House District 17 race (as lifted from the News Sentinel):
The race for the Republican nomination for state representative in the newly created 17th District could come down to voter turnout. Straddling the boundary between Sevier and Jefferson counties, district demographics tilt toward Jefferson, with 55 percent of the electorate.
But Sevier County attorney Andrew Farmer stands a good chance to win his first elective office. Farmer, a “general practice” attorney, has a heap of endorsements from Sevier County politicos, and enthusiasm is high in Sevier County over the possibility of electing two native sons to the state House. In the 12th District, either state Rep. Richard Montgomery, R-Sevierville, or Sevierville Alderman Dale Carr will carry the Sevier County banner in Nashville.
Farmer faces Jefferson County Commissioner Roger Griffith and retired businessman Larry Boggs of Dandridge in the Aug. 2 primary. Griffith, an engineer by trade, has shown a depth and breadth of understanding of the issues and has been impressive in debates. Boggs has been solid, if not quite as charismatic as Farmer or as passionate as Griffith.
Boggs, Farmer and Griffith all pass conservative litmus tests by saying they are pro-life, pro-gun owners, anti-tax and anti-spending. But Farmer wavers from conservative orthodoxy on education, refusing to support school vouchers even though the state Senate passed a voucher bill last session and Gov. Bill Haslam has promised to support a voucher program.
Both Griffith and Boggs have blasted Farmer over his statements about teachers’ unions. Farmer said at a tea party debate he supported the National Education Association, but later he amended his stance to say he meant to say the Tennessee Education Association and local union affiliates have “done some good things.” Asked at another debate last month to name those “good things,” Farmer said, “They back our teachers.”
In debates, the frontrunners appear to be Farmer and Griffith, with Griffith demonstrating a well-researched understanding of state fiscal issues. Farmer, a newcomer to politics, answers questions in generalities, though he did criticize the Republican-backed state investment in the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.
Farmer’s command of the issues may not measure up to Griffith’s and he may not be as conservative as his opponents, but geography may trump ideology and preparedness. If Boggs and Griffith split the Jefferson County vote and Sevier County voters turn out strong for Farmer, the first representative from the new 17th District could be an inexperienced moderate.
In electing their new state representative this summer, Republican voters in parts of Jefferson and Sevier counties will choose either an engineer, a lawyer or a retired businessman who wants to take tax money from the state and give it to city and county governments.
The three candidates are vying in the Aug. 2 Republican primary for the House 17th District, which was redesigned by the Legislature earlier this year.
The engineer candidate is Roger W. Griffith, 50, of Jefferson City, a married father of nine who worked 14 years for TVA, then set up his own firm, specializing in the design of mechanical systems for commercial buildings. He currently serves on the Jefferson County Commission.
The lawyer is Andrew E. Farmer, 32, who returned from a Florida honeymoon with his bride last week. He is the grandson of a former Sevier County road superintendent making his first run for public office.
The retired businessman is Larry Boggs, 71, of Dandridge, a married father of four and grandfather of seven who grew up in Mississippi and spent much of his professional career, he says, as a “rescuer of broken plants” in the apparel industry, both inside and outside the United States.
U.S. Senate candidate Brenda Lenard said Wednesday that she has been urged to leave the race and endorse another of incumbent Sen. Bob Corker’s opponents in the Republican primary because of a bad check conviction and bankruptcies in her background.
Lenard, a Tea Party activist and single mother working on a doctorate in political science at the University of Tennessee, said she will “absolutely not” do so and believes that her life experiences – including the 1990s financial problems – make her a better person and a better candidate.
“There is not one thing in my past or even now that I’m ashamed of,” said Lenard, 45, of Sweetwater. “Life is tough and sometimes you have to roll with the punches.”
News release from the governor’s office:
NASHVILLE – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced that Larry Martin will join his staff to oversee implementation of the Tennessee Excellence and Accountability Management (TEAM) Act.
His responsibilities will include coordinating and collaborating throughout state government agencies to effectively begin recruiting new employees on all levels, updating performance evaluations in all departments, and a review of employee compensation that includes the salary study funded in the governor’s FY 2013-2014 budget.
“Getting the TEAM Act passed into law was only the beginning of our work,” Haslam said. “Now we must make sure it is implemented effectively, which includes creating meaningful performance evaluations, truly getting a full picture of employee compensation, and changing the culture now that we can recruit the best and brightest to serve. I am grateful that Larry has agreed to take on this challenge for the taxpayers of Tennessee. Our goal is to build a state workforce that is dedicated to and focused on customer service, efficiency and effectiveness.”
— Note: The salary is $140,000 annually, according to a spokesman for the governor. For more, see the News Sentinel report.