|Mark Clayton, (D) Senate Candidate|
Photo Courtesy of News Channel 5, Nashville
By Brody Levesque | NASHVILLE, TN -- The Tennessee Democratic Party Chairman, Chip Forrester, had strong words for the presumptive Democratic nominee for the U. S. Senate race who won the primary election last week:
"The Tennessee Democratic Party will continue to remind voters that Mark Clayton does not speak for the TNDP or Tennessee Democrats."
Party officials content that the only reason Clayton won was the placement of his name appearing first on the ballot.
Clayton has drawn the ire of the Democratic Party establishment due to his positions on several issues that run contrary to the party platform and political ideology. However, Clayton's position as Vice-President of The Public Advocate Of The United States organisation, is what has party officials particularly angered.
Public Advocate has been listed by the Southern poverty Law Center as a hate group for its sometimes egregious attacks on the LGBTQ community. The organisation has come under fire most recently as its titular head, Loudon County Virginia Republican Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, misappropriated a same-sex couple's engagement photo and used an altered version in a political attack ad campaign in a Colorado State Senate race.
The Tennessee Democratic Party released the following statement last Friday in response to Clayton's receiving the most votes in the Democratic Primary for US Senate.
“The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself. Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support.
Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November.”
Clayton fired back by saying,
"So if Public Advocate is a hate group, then the state of Tennessee is a hate group, because it's in our constitution that marriage is between a man and a woman."
Clayton also defended Public Advocate's record claiming that the group focuses on pushing pro-life legislation, defending marriage as solely between a man and a woman and even advocating for the Boy Scouts of America to be free from the "radical homosexual agenda."
Clayton insisted Public Advocate and its members are not a hate group.
Rick Simpkins, a spokesman for Clayton on Saturday attacked State Democratic Party chairman Chip Forrester saying,
"We ask for his immediate dismissal or resignation. If we don't have that resignation by the end of business on Monday, we will be filing a complaint with the Federal Election Commission."
In reaction the TDP issued the following statement:
"Chip Forrester has broken no laws and will not be resigning. The results of the election have not been certified, so Mark Clayton has not been "duly elected" or nominated to anything yet."