The Tennessee Democratic Party has a problem. They hold no statewide office and occupy only two of the state's nine congressional districts. Now, the embattled party is disavowing its senatorial candidate after party officials realized the candidate planned to use the race as a platform to broadcast his radical views - which include talk about FEMA camps and a NAFTA super highway - a road from Mexico City to Toronto that would undermine American sovereignty. He also reportedly believes that Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to amend the constitution so he can fulfill Hitler's superman scenario. These were all displayed on his website, which now appears to have been taken down.
Clayton is also vice president of Public Advocate of the United States, a self-described conservative, pro-family advocacy group based in Falls Church, Va. The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the organization a hate group for its views on same-sex marriage and gay rights.
With virtually no money and little campaigning, Mark Clayton, a floor-layer in Tennessee who works for an hourly wage, won the seven-candidate Tennessee Democratic Senate primary with 29 percent of the vote Thursday.The threshold for getting on the ballot is low - only 25 signatures are needed to secure a place on the ticket. The candidate is crediting his success to his message for his primary win, but Democratic Party officials say has more to do with his placement on the ballot.
"It just so happens that his name was at the top of the ticket," said Democratic party spokesman Sean Braisted. "Unfortunately we didn't have any other candidates that ran the kind of campaign to gain statewide notability and win."
Eugene Delgaudio, the president Public Advocate, is hitting back at the state Democratic Party, calling them "crybabies."
"The crybabies at the Tennessee Democratic Party are crying and whining about Mark Clayton's clear win.," he said. "They're morons. How could 50,000 people be wrong? They have to blame Public Advocate."
Clayton has dabbled in politics before, running for the Senate as a Democrat in 2008, when he earned around 32,000 votes, finishing fourth in the Democratic primary.
He will challenge incumbent in November, Republican Sen. Bob Corker, who is expected to win reelection.
Clayton's recent win is an embarrassing blow to the Democratic Party in the state, which is trying to push back on all levels of government from an ever-strengthening Republican party.
It's not secret the Democratic Party has a long road to travel to become competitive in the state of Tennessee - they hold no statewide office and occupy only two of the state's nine congressional districts.
"The Democrats weren't going to win the seat anyways, this is just an embarrassment," said John Geer, distinguished professor and chair of Political Science at Vanderbilt University. "It speaks to Corker's popularity, but also speaks to the Democrat's shallow bench of viable candidates in Tennessee."
The party is now urging voters to write-in a candidate, and they hope the party can coalesce around one write-in, if a singular alternative emerges.
"We're still looking into everything. We're reviewing all options," Braisted said.