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.