Bush, Jones vow to fight ballot exclusion; DeBerry won’t

Republican U.S. Senate candidate Byron Bush and Democratic U.S. House candidate Justin Jones are vowing to fight their exclusions from the primary ballot in August. But longtime state Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis says he won’t challenge fellow Democrats’ decision to remove him.

Bush, who also ran for the Senate in 1994, was deemed ineligible to run as a Republican because he hadn’t voted in three of the last four primaries. Jones failed to submit 25 valid signatures for his effort to challenge incumbent Jim Cooper (D-Nashville). DeBerry was excluded by Democrats because of his pattern of voting with Republicans on issues like abortion and school vouchers.

“The so-called party of inclusion is everything but inclusive,” DeBerry told the Commercial Appeal . “It’s all about thinking with one brain, marching in step and following the company line, sitting there like a brainless idiot and letting them tell you what to do.”

Jones, who is best known for leading protests against the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the state Capitol, said hehe missed the cut by a single signature. He blamed the coronavirus pandemic for making it more difficult to collect the signatures.

“We have heard ‘no’ since we announced this campaign,” Jones said in a Twitter post.”We fought then. And will continue fighting now.”

Bush, who was also a Republican candidate for the Senate in 1994, was among five candidates running to succeed Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Maryville) this year who were deemed not to be bona fide Republicans.

Bush had used his current campaign as a platform for railing against state judges following his losing legal battle to prevent a property foreclosure in 2012. Bush, a Nashville dentist, drew a modicum of attention by running local ads during the Super Bowl.

(Bush’s full statement after the jump)

NASHVILLE — Today, Dr. Byron Bush called on all Tennessee Republican Party State Executive Committee (SEC) Members to denounce the recently revealed attempts to tear apart the Republican Party and block the will of thousands of voters across the state, saying:

“This week I received a letter from Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden rejecting my candidacy as a Republican running for the open U.S. Senate seat in the upcoming August election. This is an underhanded attempt by those threatened by my candidacy to use obscure provisions of the State Party rules to dictate to the Republican voters of Tennessee who they can and cannot vote for—and it is wrong.

This is the kind of shady Establishment behavior President Trump has called out on the federal level, and it is exactly what I have been talking about when I tell voters that if elected, I will be working to Drain the Swamp in D.C. and Tennessee.

Upon receiving this “rejection” notice, I immediately announced my appeal and requested that fellow conservative leaders “vouch” for my lifelong Republican Party membership so that I can continue to work with voters throughout our state to advance our shared policy solutions to enhance freedom and opportunity in Tennessee. I am an active and contributing member to the Republican Party, I was past chairman of the statewide Tennessee Republican Platform Committee, I have a lifelong Republican voting record, and anyone who says that I am not a bona fide Republican is simply lying.

Several SEC Members quickly “vouched for” my status as a bona fide Republican to Chairman Golden as the rules call for, but now he has the absolute power to decide whether I can appear as a candidate on the August ballot. I hope he upholds the proud traditions we have in the Republican Party of making our elections about our ideas and solutions for a smaller, less costly, more accountable government.

Today I’m calling on all Tennessee Republican Leaders and SEC Members to reject this type of cynical insider’s power play and join me in working together for a strong, united Republican Party that’s helping to Keep America Great!”

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