tori venable

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.”