Nominee Mark Clayton disavowed by state Democratic Party - WKRN News 2

Nominee Mark Clayton disavowed by state Democratic Party

Posted: Updated: Aug 4, 2012 09:10 PM CDT

The man who won the right to challenge Republican U.S. Senator Bob Corker is no longer a member of the Democratic Party.

On Thursday, the Democratic Party nominated Mark Clayton, 35, to challenge Corker for his U.S. Senate seat. On Friday, the party disavowed him for his membership in an anti-gay hate group.

"I, as chairman of the [Democratic] party, want to be clear; that kind of candidate is not to receive any kind of support," Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Chip Forrester told Nashville's News 2, "[Clayton's] views are poison in our country and poison in our state. We have disavowed his candidacy and will not have anything to do with that kind of candidate."

Clayton garnered twice as many votes as the next closest candidate. The Democratic Party said the only reason he won was because his name was at the top of the ballot.

In a press release, the party said the only time Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself.

Clayton adamantly disagreed.

He said, "The stuff about being on the top of the ballot, you wouldn't know it if you followed me around and talked to all the people who voted for me."

The release went on to say Clayton was a member of a hate group in Washington D.C. called the Public Advocate of the United States.

The group is pro-life, pro-marriage and anti-gay according to the party and the Clayton campaign's Facebook page.

At a news conference on Saturday, Clayton confirmed he is the vice president of the group.

"There is no hate group," Clayton told Nashville's News 2.  "I have been around Public Advocate for 20 years and we believe that marriage is between a man and a woman."

Despite Clayton's conservative stance on marriage, he maintains that he is a Democrat.

The party is also urging Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November.

Clayton plans to continue with his campaign.

He said, "I want to use my education to go to congress and my experience of Capitol Hill to go and defend the average person that's living like me and faces the same things that I face."

The election for the U.S. senate seat is November 6, 2012.

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