Democrats disavow their own Senate nominee in Tennessee

The Tennessee Democratic Party has disavowed its own nominee running against Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) for being a member of a "known hate group," it said Friday.

"Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington D.C. and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write in a candidate of their choice in November," the party said in a statement. "Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support."

The result is a sign of how weakened Democrats have become in the state. Six years ago, Rep. Harold Ford (D-Tenn.) nearly beat Corker, and heading into the last election they held the governorship and five of the state's nine House seats.

Now they are down to two with little chance of winning any of those seats back. While Corker was unlikely to lose this year to any candidate, it's notable that the best the Democrats could do was a man with ties to anti-gay groups who espouses libertarian-influenced conspiracy theories about the ongoing work on a "NAFTA Highway" that will end the United States' sovereignty.

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