john deberry

Buttigeig endorses Bradshaw, Harris

Pete Buttigeig (Photo credit: Win the Era)

Former presidential hopeful Pete Buttigeig is endorsing Tennessee Democratic candidates Marquita Bradshaw for U.S. Senate and Torrey Harris for state House.

Bradshaw was the surprise winner of the Democratic nomination in August over Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee favorite James Mackler, who ended up finishing third.

According to a Buttigeig statement posted by his Win the Era organization:

Marquita Bradshaw has spent her career advocating for her community and connecting with people around shared policy outcomes. These efforts are now the cornerstone of her groundbreaking, inspiring campaign. She knows first hand that policy should reflect the lived experiences of the people they are designed to help. She will bring this same perspective to the halls of the Senate and I’m excited to support Marquita in her historic run to represent the hard-working people of Tennessee.

Harris won the House District 90 nomination in Memphis after the state Democratic Party booted longtime state Rep. John DeBerry from its primary ballot due to his propensity of voting with Republicans on issues ranging from abortion to school vouchers.

Here’s what Buttigeig had to say about him:

Through Torrey Harris’ tireless work as a community advocate, he has modeled a willingness to listen, empower, and serve. That is exactly the type of leadership this moment demands and I’m proud to support his campaign.

Meanwhile, DeBerry was endorsed by the Americans for Prosperity and Republican U.S. Senate Bill Hagerty got the nod from the National Federation of Independent Business.

According to NFIB National Political Director Sharon Sussin:

Bill Hagerty has a true understanding of the challenges our members are facing. We have no doubt that he will be an excellent champion for them in the Senate, and we are pleased to endorse him”

Americans for Prosperity endorses ousted Democrat DeBerry

The political arm of the conservative Koch network is endorsing state Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis in his bid to hold on to his state House seat after being booted from the Democratic primary ballot over his propensity of voting with Republicans on issues ranging from abortion to school vouchers.

Rep. John DeBerry.

Americans for Prosperity Action adviser Tori Venable said in a release that DeBerry “exemplifies the very best Tennesseans look for in a legislator, someone who is principled and not afraid to put party loyalties aside to do what is right for his constituents.”

Republican lawmakers passed a new law after DeBerry was removed from the Democratic ballot to allow him to run as an independent in November.

“Rep. DeBerry understands we need to make students the center of our education system, not buildings and bureaucracies,” Venable said. “Now more than ever, we are seeing how our education system locks students in a one-size fits all setting that doesn’t provide the flexibility to help students and families meet their needs.”

Torrey Harris won the Democratic nomination in House District 90 following DeBerry’s ouster.

During last month’s special legislative session, DeBerry was cheered by House Republicans following an impassioned speech in favor of legislation aimed at cracking down on unruly protesters camped outside the state Capitol. The bill passed 71-20, with only one other Democrat voting in favor.

District 90 Democratic nominee Torrey Harris charged “DeBerry and other like-minded Republicans” with targeting the protesters because they had embarrassed them. Harris said he couldn’t understand why an African-American lawmaker from Memphis would vote to punish protests in response to an unarmed black man being killed by police, saying it “defies logic to me and reeks of Republican Trumpism.”

DeBerry sponsored 2010 bill to have courts — not parties — decide primary challenges

State Rep. John DeBerry, a longtime Memphis lawmaker appealing his removal from the Democratic primary ballot, once sponsored legislation aimed at eliminating political parties’ authority to decide primary contests.

The legislation would have sent primary challenges to administrative law judges, not party executive committees. The administrative rulings could have then been appealed to chancery court.

DeBerry’s 2010 bill was filed two years after Democrats declared then-Sen. Rosalind Kurita’s 19-vote primary victory “incurably uncertain” and awarded the nomination to Clarksville Democrat Tim Barnes. Democrats had been furious at Kurita for breaking ranks and voting for the Republican Sen. Ron Ramsey for speaker in 2007.

DeBerry was widely believed to have similarly agreed to vote for Rep. Jason Mumpower, the Republican nominee for House speaker, in 2009. But DeBerry ended up sticking with fellow Democrats to install Republican Rep. Kent Williams as the chamber’s leader. Williams was thrown out of the state GOP for the maneuver.

DeBerry insisted at the time his legislation was “not the Kurita memorial bill.” He said it was instead inspired by “some of the things said to me by some of my own colleagues in Memphis over the years reminding me who owns this office.” His goal, he said, was to enable all members of to be good legislators and party members “without being under undue pressure from any particular group.”

As DeBerry put it at the time, “when the taxpayers pay for an election nd somebody is elected, the election is over unless there is fraud.” Leaders of both parties opposed the bill because it would have weakened control over their own primaries and the bill failed.

Under the proposal, the parties would have retained their power to declare a candidate to be not a “bona fide” member and keep them off the primary ballot — as ended up occuring to DeBerry last week. The state Democratic Party is scheduled to take up his appeal on Wednesday.

DeBerry to challenge Democratic ouster after all

After the state Democratic Party’s executive committee voted last week to remove John DeBerry’s name from the primary ballot, the longtime state House member from Memphis sounded resigned to his fate

“The Tennessee Democratic Party has decided that a 26-year representative that spent 12 years as a committee chairman, conducted himself with integrity, served the party well, sponsored meaningful legislation and built bridges across the aisle to get bills passed is no longer a Democrat,” DeBerry said in a statement on Wednesday. “And so, I’m not.”

But come Friday, DeBerry seemed to have changed his mind, telling the Memphis Flyer’s Jackson Baker he plans to mount an appeal.

DeBerry said he had been “ambushed and blindsided” by the move to oust him from the ballot “after the filing deadline and in the middle of a pandemic.” DeBerry said the case against him was supported by “a group of people who don’t look like us.”

DeBerry said the deadline to file a challenge is Thursday.

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)

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