Defending the family

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UPDATED: Federal Judge "Won't Void U.S. Senate Primary" Won by Public Advocate Volunteer Mark Clayton

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP/NewsChannel 5) - A federal judge has refused to void the Tennessee Democratic primary for U.S. Senate won by an anti-gay candidate the party has disavowed.

District Judge Kevin Sharp ruled that the lawsuit filed by losing candidate Larry Crim was improper because it was not filed against an individual.

Crim sued the state Division of Elections and the Tennessee Democratic Party trying to keep the winner of the August 2 primary, Mark Clayton, off the November ballot.


A federal judge refused Thursday to take any steps toward removing Mark Clayton from the ballot as the Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate, citing multiple legal flaws in a lawsuit that has that goal.

"There are too many problems with this complaint," U.S. District Court Judge Kevin Sharp told Mike Rowan, attorney for Larry Crim, who finished fourth behind Clayton in the Aug. 2 Democratic Senate primary. "You can come back (with a revised complaint) if that's what you decide to do."

............In refusing, Sharp noted that a temporary restraining order requires a showing of likely success in the long run on the merits of the case.

"There's argument but no evidence that would let me find a substantial likelihood of success," the judge said.


A federal judge tossed out an effort to overturn Democrat Mark Clayton's win in the Senate primary, following a pointed and at times lively hearing Thursday in Nashville.

Judge Kevin Sharp rejected Larry Crim's challenge of the Aug. 2 vote, saying that the Nashville attorney and his lawyer had not presented any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of party or state election officials..........


Clayton speaks

The surprise of the morning was Clayton's appearance.

The mover and part-time political activist filed a brief Thursday requesting that he be allowed to intervene in the case, a motion that Sharp quickly granted. From his seat in the gallery's second row, Clayton tried to object as Rowan argued that his candidacy was not legitimate.

Sharp cut him off.

"Mr. Clayton, do not speak," he said. "Sit back there."

When Clayton was invited to speak, he offered a lengthy discourse on the details of the state party's bylaws and qualification procedures. Clayton, who also ran for the Senate in 2008, said he had shared his political views with two party chairmen and that no one had ever questioned his credentials before this year's primary.

Clayton went on to say that Crim had to have been aware of his views because the two had spoken last spring. Clayton said Crim asked him to drop out of the primary and offered to employ him at his campaign newspaper if he would do so.....................