Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) may have barely scraped into office six years ago, but since then the state has increasingly become a Republican stronghold, and now the Democrats have suffered an epic failure in their attempt to find a credible candidate to put up against him.
The seven would-be candidates who competed in Thursday’s primary were all unknowns, and the winner, a flooring installer with no political experience, won with just 26% of the vote. Now Democratic Party leaders have taken a closer look at 35-year-old Mark Clayton, and they aren’t at all pleased with that they see.
In a statement issued Friday, the party disavowed Clayton over his ties to an alleged hate group, indicated they will not be supporting him in any way, and urged Democrats to write in a candidate of their choice next November.
“The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself,” the statement explains. “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.”
Clayton is the vice-president of a conservative Virginia-based group called Public Advocate of the United States, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. It is virulently opposed to same-sex marriage, and one of its most recent press releases was headlined “Eating Chicken Declared A Hate Crime Pro-homosexual Socialist Dictators Attack Private Companies just like their President Barack Obama Attacks Private Companies.”
Clayton’s own website currently returns a Bandwidth Limit Exceeded message. According to an article at Mother Jones Magazine, however, when the site is available, it reveals that “Mark Clayton believes the federal government is building a massive, four-football-field wide superhighway from Mexico City to Toronto as part of a secret plot to establish a new North American Union that will bring an end to America as we know it.”
“Elsewhere, he warns of an encroaching ‘godless new world order,'” the article continues, “and suggests that Americans who speak out against government policies could some day be placed in ‘a bone-crushing prison camp similar to the one Alexander Solzhenitsyn was sent or to one of FEMA’s prison camps.'(There are no FEMA prison camps.) In April 2008, Clayton issued a press release accusing Google of censoring his campaign website on behalf the Chinese government.”
“With a conspiracy theorist now a leader of the state Democratic party,” Mother Jones suggests, “the local GOP—a bastion of evolution and climate change denialism—has an opening: It can be the party of rationality.”
Photo of Sanator Bob Corker by United States Congress [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
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