Primaries Prove Pesky for Dems

In 1998, the Democrats planned to run Mark Whitaker against incumbent Gov. Don Sundquist. Whitaker was not perceived to be much of a threat to the then-popular Sundquist, but was thought to have a good political future. He got around during the primary, but kept his money ready for the fall election. John Jay Hooker filed to run, spent no money and did not campaign. He won the Democratic primary. (He got 30 percent against Sundquist in the fall.)

This year the state party recruited actress Park Overall to be the candidate against U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn. But the day after the election the party had to repudiate the guy who did win the primary: Mark Clayton. Clayton was accused of having extreme right-wing views and head of a “hate group.” Overall came in third in the race, behind Clayton and Gary Gene Davis.

The Democratic Party’s position has been that Clayton will stay on the ballot and they will urge people to write in someone else. But some members of the executive committee have been discussing options and the legality of removing Clayton from the ballot, including a statewide conference call Monday night. As of our deadline they were still discussing options, something new may develop this week.

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