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Tenn. Dems disavow Senate nominee, cite hate group

Senate candidate Mark Clayton, D-Tenn., in a photo from his campaign's Facebook page Facebook

(CBS/AP) NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Tennessee Democratic Party is disavowing the nomination of Mark Clayton to challenge Republican U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, saying the little-known candidate belongs to a hate group.

Clayton, a floor installer, received twice the votes of his nearest competitor in a seven-candidate Democratic primary Thursday.

The party said in a statement Friday that Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the party "disavows his candidacy."

"The only time that Clayton has voted in a Democratic primary was when he was voting for himself," the Tennessee Democratic Party's statement said. "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."

"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."

Clayton is vice president of Public Advocate of the United States, which calls itself a conservative advocacy group.

The Southern Poverty Law Center calls the organization an anti-gay hate group.

Clayton said in an interview before the election that privacy issues are his main concern and that he thinks people are being "over-identified by the government and tracked."