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!”

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

  • Avatar
    Perry Aubric says:

    How hard is it to get so few valid signatures? Tennessee is the easiest state in the Union for qualifying for the ballot. Jones is and always was a joke.

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    Christina Norris says:

    Jones is a reputable person, notwithstanding the signature issue, and I’m sure we’ll hear more from him in the future. He is an important voice to be heard.

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    Stuart I. Anderson says:

    My conservative friends, watch those liberals and their control over the Democratic Party. How fortunate they are. Please notice how you have to have some tight affinity with the Democratic platform which the liberals have crafted before they will let you even appear on the ballot, much less have any hope of winning the Democratic primary.

    Unfortunately, the Republican Party is a mere political conveyance carrying all kinds of specimen along to realize their political ambitions. That’s why the Republican Party deserves the same loyalty from conservatives as an institution as I felt to the Triboro Coach Company whose buses used to take me to and from school every day. Filiing deadline has come and gone so before making campaign contributions conservatives should repeat this oath “Millions for conservative candidates. Not a penny to the Republican Party.”

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    Susan says:

    Oh,and here I thought Jones was “best known” for throwing a cup on coffee on the Speaker of the House and other legislators and getting banned from the Capitol for his violence.

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    Kendra Tilley says:

    John DeBerry needs to realize he is more a conservative than a liberal and switch to the Republican Party. I applaud him for doing what is right by fighting for the lives of the unborn and voting against vouchers that we all know will not provide better opportunity but will eventually force private schools to follow state standards and assessments. In the end parents will have choice of location but no choice in what is taught in their child’s school. Charters and voucher are how they will get all children into the same system and the data pipeline. Such a shame our legislators are ignorant to this agenda. I guess donations count more than facts and truth.

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    Teddy says:

    Put Bush on the ballot so we can see who all of the thousands of voters are that will be disenfranchised by his absence.

    • Teddy
      I could be wrong but I detect a bit of sarcasm. You may be right. Maybe there won’t be thousands of votes for me… maybe there will. I make no pretense but do believe I have as much if not more to offer than BigMoney… BlueBlood… Washington Insiders or BigMoney… NoRecord… EarlyCareer WannaBees that seek again to purchase the office of U.S SENATE. Then we wonder WHY they don’t have our BEST INTEREST in mind.
      Tennessee has its own “SWAMP TO DRAIN”… and the corruption must be exposed HERE… and in Washington. People run for different reasons and my motives are different than they were 25 years ago. In hindsight, I’m glad I did not go to Washington in 1994 only to be an absentee father.
      It might be in the best interest of all… if we sincerely seek the TRUTH. After all, 2000 years ago, that was the question of the day. WHAT IS TRUTH? But I guess it’s easier to wash your hands.
      That’s why… “IT MATTERS…” WHO you vote for… WHAT they believe… and IF THEY WILL FIGHT for VALUES that “MATTER”

      • Avatar
        Lenny says:

        I believe that Bush is the only CHRISTian running. Remember the red letters in your gospel. The Pharisees AND Republicans. TN GOP shall be damned.

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    David Collins says:

    Come on guys. If a person cannot get twenty-five registered voters to sign a petition to get him on the ballot–does that sound like a serious candidate with a serious chance of winning? Tennessee has always had one of the least taxing procedures for ballot access and if you can’t get 25 people to support you on the front end-well- what do you think will happen on election day?

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      Stuart I. Anderson says:

      You’re right David and that’s why we have to wade through a dozen or so names for almost every office of people who aren’t serious candidates, don’t have any chance of getting elected, but simply get some sort of sick thrill seeng their stupid name on the ballot. OK, the rest of us are slightly inconvenienced by having to go through all of those names so why not have the state/city/county make a buck from these ballot exhibitionists. Lets charge $500 or more as a filing fee and let’s raise the number of signatures up to a reasonable number relative to the population to be served or represented – another needed electoral reform to Tennessee’s electoral system that is so in need of reform in so many ways.

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    John W. Niven Jr says:

    Stuart, The $500 filing fee and 50 signatures instead of 25 makes sense. First time I can remember agreeing with you. Dr. Bush, nobody’s picking on you. You were subjected to the same standards as anybody else running under the Republican banner. You knew or certainly could have/should have known the standards going in. I didn’t know about the throwing the coffee on the Speaker thing but if that’s true, you are way too immature to be in the Senate. And if you don’t like Donald Trump’s performance, thats a big reason I hope you never see the Senate under ANy banner. No sarcasm, I’m completely sincere.

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      Donna Locke says:

      John, that was Justin Jones who assaulted Republicans with a cup of liquid. He was let off easy.

      I don’t agree with higher barriers to running for office.

      • Avatar
        Donna Locke says:

        Some may find Justin Jones’s antics trivial, but if he had hit someone in the eye with hot coffee, the victim might be facing a cornea transplant and possible loss of the eye. I don’t know what kind of liquid hit the lawmakers, and Justin Jones didn’t care. He is here to cause trouble.

        As for DeBerry, some illumination for the stubbornly blind, not DeBerry, may come out of this. The Democratic Party in this state has been hijacked by outside agendas that are not in our best interests. Start a party of common sense, but good luck getting it on a ballot.

    • John
      Thank you for your kind sentiment. I don’t disagree with the additional standards of Stuart… except there might need to be different fees &/or #signatures for different races… statewide vs local.
      I can take critism… but for ALL CANDIDATES protect & reject the notion that anyone would belittle a candidate who he deems doesn’t “count” by making a sarcastic joke… without hearing the message. No matter how insignificant a candidate might be… they should be allowed to run without ridicule if they meet the standard… which I now have. I have invested in excess of $400K and believe in my message win or lose. Primaries should be a time that we do not bet on the perceived fastest horse (BigMoney) but the one we most closely align with. The “endorsement” that counts will be there for the winner.
      So will the money.
      I also understand the need for a standard to run for office as a Rep or Dem.
      Currently AOC or Bernie could move into TN… vote in 3 primaries… and not even be challenged… per our current Rep bylaws. Strange!
      In ’94 Bill Frist had never voted before in his life when he ran for SENATE. His first vote was for himself. Somewhere in the bylaws… ARTICLE IX… was added a new provision for 3 of the last 4 statewide primaries. I voted in 2 of 4… missing once due to patient care; another time out of state on election day… so the last several attempts have seen me do early voting to prevent missing. Also the bylaws provide for SEC Members or other elected officials to “vouch” for your “bona fide status” as a Rep… Immediately upon my APPEAL I had 4 SEC Members come forward in writing and 2 by phone to Chairman Scott Golden, more than twice what he said would be needed to qualify. So, next week we’ll find out what our Chairman, who has final authority decides. That’s where the “one man” could eliminate the votes of hundreds… thousands… or tens-of-thousands…
      I don’t like that and have been validated by other SEC Members.
      My completed petition was successfully turned in 2 weeks early.
      Having voted dozens of times… always Rep… it would be ironic to be determined not Rep-enough by one primary vote after “quantifiable donations” and a lifetime of Rep history.
      Regardless… my message is “IT MATTERS…” when
      1. Laws are ignored by our judges… Judge James Martin and Appellate Judge Frank Clement… and
      2. “Material Facts” are left-out… as though they did not occur… (but they did) in order to help friends in high places. I have the proof… but so far our good-ole-boy system protects its own in TN & Wash…
      The Rule of Law does not and should not be a two-tiered system… and those officers-of-the-court who do so deceive the honorable court… bringing FRAUD UPON THE COURT.
      “IT MATTERS…”

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    James White says:

    Too bad the Republicans have ONE Person that has the POWER to say Nope you are not on the ballot.

    • Agreed… “IT MATTERS…”

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      James White says:

      Too bad that Tennesseans have ONE Person who has the POWER to destroy business by just issuing unconstitutional orders. #LeeTheTyrant : Section 23. That the citizens have a right, in a peaceable manner, to assemble together for their common good, to instruct their representatives, and to apply to those invested with the powers of government for redress of grievances, or other proper purposes, by address of remonstrance.

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    Eddie White says:

    Dr Bush,
    I remember the Republican primary of 94. I think you were 1 of 6 running ( the 6 pack if I remember correctly). I remember your bicycle ride across the state. I also recall crowding into a small room in Mt Juliet to hear all of you debate. I well remember Bill Frist that night, but I think in the end I voted for your candidacy. I think your long record and service establishes your Republican credentials. Considering the current candidates, I might be inclined to vote for you again. However, when I visited your website, I was disappointed. Your whole candidacy seems based on greviences with a couple of judges. You may have well been wronged, however I am looking for your positions on many economic, foreign, and social issues. None I found on your website. You should have provided a much broader picture of why you want to be a US senator from Tennessee. Unfortunately that is lacking in your campaign.

    • Eddie
      I understand.
      30-second commercials and limited exposure by the media who “endorse” BY their coverage ONLY the BigMoney… is frequently a self-fulfilling prophecy. BushForSenate.com is admittedly operating on a fraction of the budget of the BigBoys… trying to utilize our resources carefully. It would be interesting to see the website, TV Ads, press releases, campaign literature and other media if the other TopTwo were actively running their own campaign… writing their own responses, speeches, etc. instead of a professional business campaign manager. But that’s my problem… not yours.
      The average voter gives you about 30- seconds… so I have “led” with what brought me back to Egypt.
      I’m not in this for personal gain… ego… or to escape my Medical Profession after 10- years of service… No wonder medicine is expensive. I’ve now put in 43 and have seen my Associate, myself and others (with money… but not BigMoney) become targets by BiggerMoney utilizing our courts as a cover.
      Since I ran in ’94 I’ve learned a few things.
      I am running first and foremost to “target” CORRUPTION… pure and simple… that not only affects me but countlless others… who have come forward since I announced. We are compiling a list of cases. Judges have been given carte blanche power. They don’t need to follow the law… THEY ARE THE LAW… and they PICK & CHOOSE the FACTS for the benefit of their FRIENDS… and… Guess WHO else…?
      My record on the other issues should be pretty clear… besides the devil is in the details of legislation packaging and cannot always be compromised.
      Thank You for your vote 25- years ago… and for admitting it.
      It goes to the heart of the most pressing question asked 2000 years ago…
      “WHAT IS TRUTH…?” and Does “IT MATTER…”?
      You get to decide… again…

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    CollegeGrover says:

    How long before Justin Jones starts playing the race card?

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    LeeAnn C. says:

    Rules are rules! If you can’t follow the party rules that advise IN ADVANCE that candidates must have voted in ‘x’ number of previous primaries, you’re not qualified in accordance with the rules! And if you can’t get 25 signatures on your filing petition, you clearly have NO BUSINESS running for an elected position! I know that candidates typically get many more than 25 because people don’t follow the very basic instructions on that petition OR do not realize that they must be registered voters to sign. Apparently, this candidate didn’t know that either!

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