Tennessee Democrat Who Lost U.S. Senate Primary Sues Democratic Party in Federal Court and Asks for a New Democratic Primary Election

As reported earlier, at the Tennessee Democratic Party primary on August 2, Mark Clayton won the nomination for U.S. Senate, even though he had a platform at odds with the platform of the Democratic Party, and even though he had only once in his life voted in a Tennessee Democratic primary. That one instance was in 2008, when he was also a candidate for U.S. Senate. He did not win the 2008 Democratic primary.

On August 15, another Democrat who ran for U.S. Senate in this month’s primary, Larry Crim, sued the Tennessee Democratic Party, charging that the party knew Clayton was not a bona fide Democrat, but that the party let him file anyway, because the party was prejudiced against Crim and knew that without Clayton in the race, Crim would appear first on the primary ballot. Candidates are listed by alphabetical order in Tennessee primaries. Here is the complaint. The case is Crim v Tennessee Democratic Party, middle district, 3:12-0838.


  1. Is it just me, or does Larry Crim sound like a sore loser. Unless the Democratic Party has a lot more authority under Tennessee state law than it does in the rest of the states where party nominees are decided in primaries, The Tennessee Democratic Party couldn’t do to much about whether Mark Clayton or Larry Crim decided to file for the United States Senate.

  2. Nick Kruse · · Reply

    If Crim couldn’t even beat someone like Clayton, why does he think he would stand a chance in the general election? Obviously Crim doesn’t have the campaign organization to run a real campaign.

  3. Tom Yager · · Reply

    What is a “bona fide Democrat” in a state that does not have registration by party?

  4. Jim Riley · · Reply

    Tennessee has a statute that says a party may ensure candidates for its nomination are bona members of the party. The Tennessee Democratic Party in its rules has a standard for bona fide candidates (having voted in 3 of the last 5 party primaries), as well as a procedure for challenging and removing candidates (any county party could have challenged Clayton, and then the State party would have made a ruling.

    Larry “Loser” Crim is arguing that the state party deliberately did not disqualify Clayton in order to deny Crim the first position on the ballot, because it wanted Park Overall to win, and thereby committed fraud.

    It is unclear why this doesn’t belong in state court.

    Larry “Loser” Crim finished in 4th place.

  5. J.D. FARGO · · Reply


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