|Governor of Tennessee|
An October 2012 article in The Daily named Clayton one of the 20 worst candidates in 2012.
- See also: Tennessee gubernatorial election, 2014
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. Corker won.
|U.S. Senate, Tennessee General Election, 2012|
|Republican||Bob Corker Incumbent||64.9%||1,506,443|
|Democratic||Mark E. Clayton||30.4%||705,882|
|Libertarian||Shaun E. Crowell||0.9%||20,936|
|Independent||Michael Joseph Long||0.3%||8,085|
|Independent||Troy Stephen Scoggin||0.3%||8,080|
|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.
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.
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.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term "Mark + Clayton + Tennessee + Governor"
- All stories may not be relevant to this legislator due to the nature of the search engine.
- Tennessee Secretary of State, "Petitions Issued by State Election Commission Office," January 23, 2014
- CNN "Tennessee Senate Race - 2012 Election Center"
- The Daily, "The worst candidates of 2012," accessed October 29, 2012
- Times Free Press, "Tennessee Democrats act to keep anti-gay activist out of governor race," April 6th, 2014
- Tennessee Secretary of State, "2012 Unofficial Filings," April 5, 2012
- Associate Press primary results
- The Tennessean, "Democratic Party disavows Senate nominee" accessed August 4, 2012
- The Tennessean, "Democrats missed chance to block Mark Clayton, Tennessee official says" accessed August 8, 2012
- The Washington Post, "2012’s worst candidate? With Mark Clayton, Tennessee Democrats hit bottom.," October 22, 2012