Mark Clayton

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Mark Clayton
Mark Clayton.jpg
Governor of Tennessee
Former Candidate
Mark Clayton was a Democratic candidate for Governor of Tennessee in the 2014 elections.[1]

Clayton was also a 2012 Democratic candidate who sought election to the U.S. Senate from Tennessee. He lost in the general election.[2]

An October 2012 article in The Daily named Clayton one of the 20 worst candidates in 2012.[3]



See also: Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2014

Clayton ran for election to the office of Governor of Tennessee as a Democrat but was disqualified by the state Democratic party after a committee found that he was not a bona fide Democrat.[4]


See also: United States Senate elections in Tennessee, 2012

Clayton ran in the 2012 election for the U.S. Senate, representing Tennessee. He defeated Larry Crim, Gary Davis, Dave Hancock, Ashley King, Park Overall, and T.K. Owens in the August 2 Democratic primary. He faced incumbent Bob Corker (R), Shaun Crowell (L), David Gatchell (I), James Higdon (I), Michel Long (I), and Troy Scoggin (I) in the general election on November 6, 2012.[5][6] Corker won.[2]

U.S. Senate, Tennessee General Election, 2012
Party Candidate Vote % Votes
     Republican Green check mark transparent.pngBob Corker Incumbent 64.9% 1,506,443
     Democratic Mark E. Clayton 30.4% 705,882
     Constitution Kermit Steck 0.8% 18,620
     Green Martin Pleasant 1.7% 38,472
     Libertarian Shaun E. Crowell 0.9% 20,936
     Independent David Gatchell 0.3% 6,523
     Independent Michael Joseph Long 0.3% 8,085
     Independent Troy Stephen Scoggin 0.3% 8,080
Total Votes 2,320,189
Source: Tennessee Secretary of State "Official Election Results, 2012 General Election"

Controversy with the Democratic Party

The day after Clayton won the Democratic nomination for Senate, the Tennessee Democratic Party disavowed him as their candidate, claiming he is part of an anti-gay hate group. Though Clayton won the primary with a sizable margin, the party said it would do nothing to help further his candidacy, and urged voters to vote for a write-in candidate in November. "The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself," read a press release. "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." Clayton does occasional work for the pro-life, pro-marriage group Public Advocate of the United States.[7]

Democratic candidate Larry Crim later demanded a new primary based on the argument that Tennessee Democratic Party Chair Chip Forrester failed in his duties as party chairman to properly screen the primary candidates. Crim also argued that since his name is next to Clayton's alphabetically the nomination belongs to him. The state's elections coordinator Mark Goins responded to the inquiry saying that Forrester had seven days after the April 5 qualifying deadline to question Clayton's Democratic credentials. After that, officials had no legal grounds to block his candidacy.[8]

Campaign donors

Clayton did not file any reports with the Federal Election Commission but had reportedly raised just $278 for his campaign. He also did not set up any campaign signs or headquarters to promote his bid for office.[9]

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