Tenn. Primary Results Suggest Both Party's are in Disarray

Aug 6, 2012

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/WMOT) — The Tennessee Democratic Party is disavowing the nomination of Mark Clayton, saying the little-known candidate belongs to a hate group.

During Thursday's primary elections Clayton won the right to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker for one of Tennessee’s Senate seats this fall.

The party says Clayton received the most votes only because his name appeared first on the ballot.

Middle Tennessee State University Political Scientist Sekou Franklin says Clayton's election and disavowal is further evidence of disarray in the Tennessee Democratic Party.

“You need a more organized, a  more enthusiastic party that can wage fights. So you need leadership that can say, ‘This is what we believe and this is who we are and these are the candidates that champion our causes.'”

Dr. Franklin says the election revealed disarray in Tennessee’s Republican Party as well. He says the defeat of GOP Caucus Chairperson Debra Maggart suggests the party may be preoccupied in coming months with internal policy squabbles.

“At the end of the day, what it will do is make it much more difficult for Republican Party politicians to try to come to some type of compromise on critical issues – critical issues that might be used as a wedge against them.”

A handful of state primary races were so close that winners have still not been declared four days after voting concluded.