Crim and Clayton go to the Federal Courthouse
As I was watching the hour-long hearing on Larry Crim’s lawsuit to try to get a new primary, two thoughts sprung to my head:
1. I wish, wish, wish we were allowed to have cameras in federal courtrooms.
2. I can’t wait to write a blog about this.
Where do I begin? This whole entire ordeal has been quite a sideshow, and they took it to federal court today.
Some background. Crim filed a lawsuit to try to stop the certification of the August primary results. He wants the Democratic Senate primary results voided and the state to hold a new primary for that race. He believes that had Clayton not been on the ballot, he would have alphabetically been at the top of the ballot and won the primary. As it stands, he came in fourth.
Crim appeared with his attorney, Michael Rowan. This is the same attorney who appeared at a Mark Clayton press conference last week and seemed to offer Clayton his support. Rowan had handwritten his motion for a temporary restraining order, and the judge forced him to read it out loud. Rowan said he had been rushed, and that’s why the document was not prepared correctly and offered really no evidence for what they were seeking. In addition, the judge pointed out that TNDP chairman Chip Forrester had not been served yet, and the lawsuit erroneously named the “Division of Elections”, not Election Coordinator Mark Goins.
There were several times where the judge chastised Rowan for talking over him. At one point –and this is where I really wanted the camera present– Clayton himself jumped up to try to object from the back of the room. The judge took care of that one pretty quickly and put Clayton in his place.
Another interesting aspect of this entire case is that the Democratic Party, who has disavowed Clayton, had to kind of side with Clayton’s candidacy in order to get this lawsuit thrown out. The party’s attorneys pointed out all the flaws in the filing itself, but they also pointed out that no one brought forward a challenge to Clayton’s bona fides when he qualified in both 2008 and 2012.
So now we get to Clayton, who filed a motion to intervene. He pointed out he won in a “crushing landslide” and that he’s made no secret of his views. He also claimed Crim tried to offer him a job at his campaign newspaper as a way to entice him to drop out of the race. He had just started in on a rant about Chip Forrester and Larry Crim being racists, when the judge pretty much asked him to stop.
Given the issues with the lawsuit itself, it was pretty easy to see the result of this one coming. Judge Kevin Sharp also said that Crim should have looked into the candidate in April and made his case at that time.
“The emergency was back in April,” he said. “It’s too late in the day to be raising these claims now.”
Crim says he’s not giving up. He believes he is fighting not only for himself, but for the voters who deserve to have a Democratic primary “without fraud”.